The Mormon fallout of legalized same-sex marriage

Last night I attended a panel featuring James Obergefell, the plaintiff whose case, Obergefell v. Hodges, resulted in same-sex marriage becoming legal in all fifty states on June 26, 2015, almost exactly one year ago.

Jana Riess and Jim Obergefell, June 30, 2016. Mercantile Library, Cincinnati.

Jana Riess and Jim Obergefell, June 30, 2016. Mercantile Library, Cincinnati.

The Supreme Court decision marked a major shift in the nation—one that was welcomed by many, myself included, as evidenced by this jubilant post I wrote in the immediate aftermath.

Last night I was thrilled to get to meet some of the people who helped bring about this change in our nation’s history.

But others were not thrilled with the 2015 ruling, including some senior leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I am a proud member.

Within hours, the Church had released its official statement “Supreme Court Decision Will Not Alter Doctrine on Marriage,” expressing its disapproval of the ruling. Nothing unexpected there.

What was shocking was the (botched/leaked) disclosure in early November that the Church would be doubling down on same-sex families: no longer could children of such families be baptized; adult children of such families would have to “renounce” their parents’ marriages upon reaching the age of 18 if they wanted to get baptized and serve a mission; and any partners involved in a same-sex marriage were automatically to be considered apostates.

Then in January, apostle Russell M. Nelson upped the ante by relabeling the policy change a revelation, claiming that because the Brethren were so deeply concerned about the nation’s direction with Obergefell, they had met “repeatedly in the temple” to get a revelation from the Lord.

The result, Nelson suggested, was this policy of exclusion.

As I said at the time, I do not accept this misguided policy as divine revelation (and frankly, given the bizarre way it was handled—by a handbook committee—Elder Nelson’s interpretation of all the Brethren being in agreement about it as a revelation confirmed by the Lord in the temple is rather hard to swallow).

But in retrospect, the Church’s behavior in digging in its heels in response to advances in same-sex marriage equality should not have surprised me so much.

This isn’t even the first time it has happened. In his new article “Eve and the Construction of Mormon Gender Identity,” Boyd J. Petersen notes that the 1995 Proclamation on the Family statement “was released soon after the LDS Church had been denied standing by the Hawaiian Supreme Court in Baehr v. Miike, the first gay marriage case in the United States.”

The timing, Petersen says, was likely not a coincidence: Church leaders were alarmed by what was happening in Hawaii. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” was its gauntlet thrown.

And, looking at his chart about the frequency of the Proclamation’s citations in General Conference, you can see that leaders have tended to to quote from it more often whenever same-sex marriage is on the ballot or in the news: 1996 (Hawaii), 1998 (Hawaii again), 2000 (Vermont), 2004 (11 states), 2005 (California), 2007-08 (California and Connecticut), 2010 (DOMA and Prop 8 declared unconstitutional), and 2015 (everywhere).

What’s interesting, and sad, about the Proclamation is the way it needlessly overreached. To firmly state its position on one perceived problem—same-sex marriage—the Church created theological conundra that have had lingering repercussions for two decades now:

  1. The document’s conflation of “gender” with “sex,” claiming that gender is eternal when gender is the thing that is socially constructed and sex may be the thing we can begin to wonder about being eternal.
  2. Its simultaneous insistence that men and women are “equal partners” while men are to “preside.” Only a skilled contortionist can make those two things reconcile. “Preside” means to lead from a position of authority, to be in charge. Such hierarchy does not an equal partnership make.
  3. Its narrow gender roles for men and women (and its entirely binary way of conceiving of gender at all). Men get the three PRs: they preside, provide, and protect. Women get to nurture children.

All of these are issues that we’ll be parsing for years to come. Decades, even. If this has been the fallout from the Proclamation, what, I wonder, will be the fallout from the LGBT exclusion policy?

So far, what we’ve seen is not good. There’s been a tragic increase in LGBT Mormon youth committing or talking about suicide. Just this week—the first anniversary of Obergefell and a week marked with Pride marches around the country—I have heard of two such suicides just in Utah.

The nation takes a step forward, and the Mormons take a step back. And since November it hasn’t stopped breaking my heart.


RELATED POSTS:

Comments

  1. “But others were not thrilled with the 2015 ruling, including some senior leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I am a proud member…I do not accept this misguided policy as divine revelation”

    You don’t sound like such a proud member to me. You do however sound proud.

  2. The pride she has in her own personal beliefs leads her to make such a statement.

  3. But It is pretty much the same ruling for the children of the polygamous family – the children have to wait until they are older to make their own decision to join church, and to renounce the practice of polygamy. That ruling had been going on for some years and nobody batted an eye. (Until it is applied to the same-sex family, of course.) Actually, If you think about it, it is just so the children don’t have to feel pressure to choose between the church and their parents – they are just too young and not able to deal with conflict. The children of both polygamous or same-sex families are NOT banned from the church – they are still welcome to the Primary and other activities, they just have to wait until they are older to be baptized. It’s in the same vein as the children of mainstream families everywhere who are not Mormons have to wait until they are adult and can make decisions for themselves. Something like that.

  4. You’re wasting your breath (ink? pixels?). No matter how much sense the policy makes, people will always assume bigotry when it suits them. The real problem is that a lot of people are unwilling to recognize that from the very beginning, it is clear that God has commanded that sexual activity be exclusive to husband and wife

  5. And you feel they are inspired why again?

  6. Jana, you bring up great points.The church leadership is confused on ideas such as “sex” and “gender”. It is not surprising since they have been misguided on many things. They have long been on the wrong side of civil rights. When the exclusionary revelation was announced I was opposed to it on so many levels. There are some who say it is only what we have been doing to children of polygamous families. I think that is wrong as well. In fact Elder Nelsons adult children should denounce his polygamous marriages where he will be a polygamous in the next life. They should condemn his actions today!

  7. or husband and wife and wife. Or husband and neighbor’s wife. or husband and uunder aged girl.

  8. It is not at all surprising that god speaks to them in revelation, when they are being hateful. That’s just the way Jews saw him too!

  9. So were those who opposed the Priesthood Ban— and more specifically the racist underpinnings/doctrines behind it— before 1978 being prideful OR fighting against prejudice that now even the LDS Church itself has admitted was wrong-headed. I suspect you will still vote for pride. Ironically the LDS hierarchy does seem to get the revelation it needs to make needed changes until there is outside (outside of the those who do not dare consider the leader could be wrong) pressure to do so. It’s so odd to me that more LDS can’t see that the real source of ‘continuing revelation’ for the LDS Church is far less divine than they think.

  10. If we don’t trust the collective inspiration of the top 15 prophets of the church and follow their lead, who can we trust? Any inspiration I or Jana Riess might get on any given subject isn’t always going to be right for the entire world. If we profess allegiance and faith in the church and it’s leadership we have to trust that what they tell us is what God wants. When someone says they are proud to be a member of the church and then criticizes the decisions of the leadership, I tend to doubt their claim of faithfulness to it.

  11. Five suicides, actually. It is heartbreaking and it all stems to their feeling “broken” in the eyes of their church. These policies and attitudes are killing our youth…dozens since the policy came out. No religion should lead to young people feeling so awful about themselves that they chose to die. I could not longer be a part of the emotional violence, so I left the church. I could never believe in a God that treated his children the way the church treats gay members and their children.

  12. It was never claimed to be revelation by anyone other than Nelson. The church NEVER called it a revelation…before or since his statement. He spearheaded the policy, so of course he thinks it was revelation.

  13. That is very absolutist thinking and very cultish. Faith does not require blind obedience to earthly leaders. Even church leaders have of late said the church has been wrong before and that mistakes have been made in the past. They are human, as are we. Were all the members who disagreed with the blacks being denied the priesthood and who questioned it not actually faithful members? That is quite a judgment to make without knowing people’s personal lives.

  14. yeah, the whole “gender is eternal” has always bothered me. Gender studies is part of my work, and my question would be “whose definition of gender is eternal?” Every culture, be it religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, etc., has differing perspectives on what is means to be masculine and feminine. Gender is an entirely culturally based construct, so calling it eternal makes absolutely no sense. But the proclamation was written by a legal team at Kirkland & McConkie who probably had no understanding of the difference between gender and biological sex.

  15. Its bigoted there as well. Attacking children for perceived transgressions of their parents. The LDS has made it pretty clear that it does not consider gays as members worth having nor anyone sympathetic to them. So they engage in coercive nonsense to get their way. Creating misery and annoyance in its wake in a passive aggressive fashion. If the church really trusted the judgment of its members and respected their lives, they would have no need for such policies.

  16. I don’t believe in blind obedience, but even if a few mistakes were made in the past it is my feeling that we still have to trust them at the time they do tell us something and not cause dissension in the membership in such a public way as some are doing..
    “if ye are not one ye are not mine.” (D&C 38: 27)

  17. That is a pretty awful assessment of the LDS church. Essentially saying that it does not value the judgment and opinions of its members. Requiring unquestioned compliance with arbitrary authority. It speaks badly of the church leadership and its trust in its members

  18. Its pretty clear the LDS does not value gay people or have any desire to treat them as human beings. They prefer dead members to gay members.

  19. And you think, in your wisdom, that all of the boys who, because they have not been baptized, cannot be ordained, so they can’t be deacons, teachers or priests with the other boys their age, will really feel welcome by the LDS Church?

  20. Don’t give up on faith. Just find a better class of Christian to hang out with, and a better class of church to attend.

  21. Arent they the people who put out some of those really silly arguments about marriage equality

  22. The top 15 self proclaimed and self anointed prophets of the church. No one saw any transfiguration going on.

    Who can you trust? How about the people who aren’t attacking the children of people they have declared to be apostate. in fact, you ought to have a few questions about declaring anyone apostate. It sounds an awful lot like a certain set of Pharisees.

  23. It’s not that they made mistakes in the past, it was the magnitude of their mistakes and their certainty that they were just doing what God wanted them to to do, because it was right and proper and a good way to treat their fellow humans. We now know that it was not a decent way to treat their fellow humans, as did a great Many decent people back in the day.

    Unless you believe that God always wants some people to make other people less than and inferior.

  24. I remember listening to Boyd Packer give a devotional where he said the reason for the Proclamation to the World on the Family was in response to the UN’s world conference on the family. He didn’t say anything about Hawaii… As I see it the church is to help members obtain exaltation, where they can have a “continuation of the seeds forever and ever.” I don’t pretend to understand gender or sex in eternity, but if man was made in the image of God, and it takes a man and a woman to have “seeds,” then it would seem to me that gender is eternal… If you want to marry someone of the same sex, you probably aren’t too interested in having children that are biologically both of yours. And if that is the case, then you probably aren’t too interested in exaltation. And if you aren’t interested in exaltation, you probably aren’t going to be interested in the LDS church. You don’t need to belong to the LDS church to receive salvation. By LDS theology, you don’t need to belong to any church for that matter to obtain basic salvation in a kingdom of glory… I don’t understand your argument on the difference between sex and gender. They mean the same thing. It was not until the 20th century when sex began to be used as in “sexual intercourse,” and that is when the term gender began to gain favor to distinguish between male and female. I don’t think the difference between gender and sex became a problem until recently with the LGBT movement.

  25. The fairy-tale god in the magic-book-bible does create Adam and Eve and tells ’em to go at it. And the Ten Commandments to include that thing about adultery. But I have a hard time seeing how that translates into exclusivity of sexual activity, at least for unmarried people. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter: the stories in the scriptures about just about everybody include a lot of sexual hanky-panky, about which the god is strangely silent in almost all cases. you christians just can’t seem to get your minds off this sex thing, and it seems to have damaged your ability to see, think or talk about anything BUT sex when it comes to Christian morality and ethics. The issues we have to face in this complicated and sin-ridden world extend far beyond what goes on in people’s bedrooms. It’s a shame so many like you just can’t get your head around that instead of investing so much energy in other people’s private lives.

  26. Since the pro-life LDS Church refuses to change their anti-gay policies, I have to believe they view the suicides of gay people in a positive light, in that the suicides demonstrate the Church’s policies are working very well . . . . . because otherwise, as a pro-life organization, they would change their policies, wouldn’t they?

  27. The LDS church is an exclusionary church not an inclusive church. It’s policies create an unwelcoming atmosphere, unless you meet a certain criteria. They have created a type they want for their congregants. If you fit those guidelines then you make them feel comfortable, so all is well. Outside of that zone and they really don’t know what to do with you. It is an illusion of their own creation starting with Joseph Smith. If you believe God is exclusionary then this is the church for you. I was told the other day by a devout member that she would rather trust God than science. She Knows the church is true. It is a cruel church that expects all LGBT people to live as monks in order to be included.

  28. What is clear is that the highly religious are obsessed with sex in our day and time. I guess that’s why Utah leads in pornography.

  29. He sounds humane. Mormons could learn about that.

  30. It would seem that God likes a certain demographic. It would also seem that God doesn’t approve or trust science or common sense. God seems almost human. 🙂

  31. If I made as many mistakes as your church has in the past, I’d be required to do a blood atonement.

  32. You never once thought that perhapsJoseph wrote that, just to control the people?
    Handy scripture to say, when needed to reign them back in.

  33. It’s not an awful assessment of the church at all. Many members, including myself, did not join the church so that my judgement or opinions might ‘have value’. I can go to a town hall meeting, or write a letter to the editor to do that. To the contrary, I joined the church because I value the judgment and principles of God who throughout recorded scriptural history has always communicated to his children through authorized mortal servants, flawed though they may on occasion be.

    The church nor its leaders would never ask me to relinquish my god-given right to free will and agency. This is a central tenet of church doctrine. Jana is free to disagree and “parse” it as she pleases. I am free to chose to accept, agree with, and follow the admonitions and doctrine contained in the Family Proclamation. My life, and the lives of my family have benefited greatly from it. I believe that the Proclamation is God’s way (given the current trends shaping society now) of providing guidance to define family and yes, gender and how/why it works best. J

    The Word of Wisdom provides “wise” practices for taking care of the human body. The Word of Wisdom was certainly out of touch with the accepted trends of society when it was first issued back in the day, and it proved perplexing and baffling to those who thought they knew better….for well over 100 years. Now, that we know what we know about tobacco use, good nutrition, and so on, the Word of Wisdom doesn’t seem so foolish after all. The Proclamation on the Family are also ‘words of wisdom’ from the supreme creator of families. My acceptance of this proclamation does not make my acceptance unconditional, and it does not make those who provided it arbitrary. While God’s laws are absolute, they are not arbitrary.

  34. Physical parts of our bodies are construed or labeled as male and female but I think we all have both attributes ,in our spiritual makeup. I enjoy putting on makeup and perfume and high heels but I also like driving heavy equipment, working with tools and planting flowers. All classed normally as feminine and masculine. I think we all exude both traits. We no longer play the gender roles. Dad’s stay at home and mom’s go to work. Anything goes and is acceptable as long as we are responsible and respectful. Welcoming LBGT into our midst as another way a family can work, love and contribute positively to society is important and imperative.

  35. “Many members, including myself, did not join the church so that my judgement or opinions might ‘have value'”.

    It really speaks badly of badly of your religious belief. That you expect unquestioned fealty to what appears to any objective standard to be arbitrary authority on how to live your life. It speaks badly of your moral character as well. That you outsource such things rather than exercise your own ability to decide what is right and wrong. It certainly a way one can use their religious faith to absolve themselves of acts which are malicious, hateful and harmful to others.

    “The church nor its leaders would never ask me to relinquish my god-given right to free will and agency. ”

    That is exactly what you are praising the church for doing in your first paragraph. That you have relinquished such things to their authority.

    From what I see you invoke the parts of your church doctrine which give room for dissent, for expressing one’s opinion and criticism. But you have no trust in such things and contradict such notions in an attempt to show loyalty and conformity with your church’s leadership.

  36. Probably watches Honey Booboo.

  37. Hey, thanks for the compliment. I didn’t know I was a skilled contortionist until I read this.

  38. Its kind of frightening to see thought control in action. I guess that the logic goes like this: God is perfect, God directs the Mormon church, if you don’t agree with the Mormon church then you don’t agree with God. And the evidence to back this logic is, wait for it, ghosts. The holy ghost makes you feel good, and that data point trumps and empirical evidence from the quality of life (or lack thereof) caused by the Mormon church’s LGBT attitude. Seriously Dude!! Ghosts!!

  39. I would suggest you read up o the difference between sex and gender. Then you will understand it.

  40. Always communicated through those who CLAIM they are his mortal servants.

    Not servants. Mouthpieces, representatives, agents.

    Flawed though they may be. Right. That is indeed the point.

    God’s laws not arbitrary? One time, it’s a sin to eat pork. The next time, no it’s not. But eat all the cow or goat you want.

  41. There are a number of flaws with this opinion piece. First, that the church would care at all about keeping step with the nation. There are two things made very clear in the scriptures – that Christ came to earth, died and will return again, and that the world will be steeped in wickedness before He comes again. The LDS church did not take a step backwards as the nation took a step forward. Rather, the church continues to stand firm with God while the world declines. Second, that the “Senior leadership” of the church (sounds more out of touch that way) is misguided. As stated, they spent considerable time in the temple seeking the will of God on this, as they do most matters. If this is the answer they received from God, who is misguided – the senior leaders, or God? Third, there was no fall out over this issue. Apostates like this author continue to try tearing down the Lord’s church by criticizing everything about it, from imperfect leaders to doctrine they don’t agree with. Nothing new. And it will continue as the world continues to shed morals and the church of Jesus Christ does not. The church is very good about welcoming everyone, no matter their conflicts with the gospel, from homosexuality, to alcoholism, to womanizing or thievery or what have you. It is simply false to try depicting the church as attacking anyone, excluding anyone or restricting the gospel from anyone. Our own choices may disqualify us from everything the gospel offers, but the fullness of the gospel and church are open to anyone willing to live the gospel.

  42. Run. Run free. There is a whole world full of saints to discover outside of the narrow constructs of the Mormons. Life to be lived; History to be experienced; and an ethical being to become. Participating in an organization that is at war with history and equality and freedom and love is not worthy of your time or efforts. The Savior’s People are not racist. The Savior’s people would never turn their backs on unwanted and misunderstood minorities. The Savior’s people would be at the forefront of efforts to heal and mourn and love all of the world’s people. The Savior’s people would be standing up at the front of the line to end racial bigotry, misogyny, and homophobia. Run, Ms. Ries. Run to a life outside and thus within the real Kingdom of God: The Human Race

  43. If you’re right that only Nelson said it, it creates two issues. One. If he misspoke, than the church should correct his statement. If they don’t, they are by inaction, saying he is correct. Two By only him saying it is doctrine, in 20-30 years when the church catches up with the rest of the nation, they have the old ‘he’s not a prophet, only a GA and a man’ get out of free card when denying it. They might even claim that the GA spoke as a man and they’re not sure why it was done this way like the priesthood ban for blacks. Nelson is the fallout guy, the safety switch. A prime example of a well oiled machine protecting itself.

  44. “The “male-or-female sex” sense is attested in English from early 15c. As sex (n.) took on erotic qualities in 20c., gender came to be the usual English word for “sex of a human being,” in which use it was at first regarded as colloquial or humorous. Later often in feminist writing with reference to social attributes as much as biological qualities; this sense first attested 1963.” http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=gender
    There is a few more hundred years of precedence of gender meaning male or female rather than as how Jana defines it as being social. There is no problem with how she and many now define it, but you can’t force your revisionist definition upon others. You see a nuance there where they don’t. The Proclamation was also written in 1995 before the words became more nuanced with the rise of popularity of LGBT issues.

  45. “But you have no trust in such things and contradict such notions in an attempt to show loyalty and conformity with your church’s leadership.”

    And you know that how? Your post is full of misplaced judgements about me, my church’s doctrine and my morality. This has quickly become a pointless conversation.

    Let me state again: I trust in my church’s doctrine, and yes, I trust its leaders–not blindly as you so incorrectly assume. One does not have to disagree with someone or something, in order to trust it.

  46. “And you know that how? ”

    Your own statements to that effect. Your initial post criticizing Jana for voicing her opinion here. You say one thing but then refute it in following statements. Whatever I know about your religious belief and your attitude towards church leadership came from your posts. My post is simply lobbing criticism at statements which appear somewhat canned and rehearsed that you were expecting people to simply take at face value. Without any kind of thought or reflection.

    ‘One does not have to disagree with someone or something, in order to trust it.”

    And yet were calling Jana out for doing just that.

  47. Whether you agree or do not agree, recorded scriptural history is consistent that God has always employed mortal agents, such as Moses, Samuel, and others. And throughout scriptural history, those same servants were frequently disbelieved, disregarded, ridiculed, even persecuted. The point you make here today is nothing new.

    And yes, there are many who claim to be God’s servants. The important thing is to find those who truly are.

    I presume your device did a spell check, and by “prom.” you meant pork? If so, the prohibition against eating pork was included in the Law of Moses—still part of the Jewish religion to this day. Christian scripture says that Christ ‘fulfilled’ the ends of that law. In order words, its purpose had been achieved and met in Christ himself, and many parts of the Law of Moses therefore came to an end. The Oxford dictionary explains arbitrary as on a whim, and for no reason. While the history of pork may be a little complicated in scripture, it is hardly arbitrary.

  48. Scriptural history, whatever scriptures of whatever religion you are using, is different from real history. That’s part of the problem.

    The other part of the problem is finding those who truly are gods representatives. God himself seems to be particularly silent on the issue. Not so his many followers, as you can see from the various people who post here who claim that others are not true Christians.

    Yeah, my iPad does some weird things. I’ve never quite figured it out.

    It’s amazing what parts of the law of Moses came to an end In Christ, and which ones didn’t. JC himself made the argument that the entirety of the law could be boiled down to two things: that you love God and love your neighbor. In other words, god’s law never changes, except when it does.

  49. If the definition has been in use for 50 years, I hardly would consider forcing it on others.

  50. Perhaps you would like to read Mr. Dunn’s 1997 memo to Elder Ballard on H.L.M. Strategy for Hawaii and California written in 1997?

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/btb/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/mormon20anti-gay20game20plan201997-2008.pdf

    Richard Crapo has a timeline that might interest you as well, that shows what the LDS church did about Marriage Equality from 1988 to 1998:

    http://www.mormonsocialscience.org/2008/01/04/richley-crapo-chronology-of-mormon-lds-involvement-in-same-sex-marriage-politics/

  51. You’re right, God is concerned about a lot more than just sex. Which is why if you went to any Christian congregation, you’d hear messages that mostly aren’t about sex. But you’d hear some. When someone claims that Christians talk exclusively about sex, I think that says more about the person making the claim than it does about Christians.

    And although scripture has a lot to say about a lot of subjects, there’s a lot more than just your examples that demonstrate that the God of the Bible wants His children to be chaste.

  52. Jana Riess, you are apostate. Your countenance is dark. Clearly you never study Scripture. Clearly you never pray to do The Lord’s will. Clearly you do not believe the witness of The Holy Ghost. Your heroes and heroines get excommunicated. Turn around before you complete your self-willed implosion.

  53. I’m never sure if it’s worth commenting after all the wisdom that’s been dispensed. But here it is:
    I have a dear friend who is a homosexual. I love him and his family. His father and I have been friends since childhood. Much of the logistics and events concerning Church membership are unknown to me. Our families have shared many good times and challenges over the years. Sometimes we share family information sometimes we don’t. This issue is no different than any other. We love and respect each other and what we choose to share, or not.

    Most of the comments and opinions I read about this any many issues is vague posturing based on some ideology or other. I suppose points for rhetoric are recorded some where. But when it comes to real people and real relationships I find that love and respect are the best way to go.

  54. Spuddie is just quoting you back to you. I read what you wrote and though exactly the same thing. It soundEd to me like you were abrogating your responsibility for managing your morality.

    If it isn’t what you meant, then rather than say that he is mind reading, and the conversation was pointless, perhaps you should explain what it is you did mean.

    It reminds me of a discussion I had with a self described bible-believing Christian. He said that whatever God commanded was by definition right and moral, by definition, because all morality came from God. I asked him what he would do if God commanded him to rape some women. He said that he would do it, of course, but doubted that God would ever give such an order. My response was that as far as I could tell, he had no moral sense what so ever. I could have pointed out that God had indeed Ok’d that in the OT, and had ordered the slaying of all kinds of people, when he wasn’t doing the slaying himself. Instead, I said, “please keep away from my children.”

  55. Hey R White….nice comments..well said.

  56. With the 100 or so branches of Mormonism out there and the fact that while the LDS branch is the largest and wealthiest it is not the first or original, I don’t understand why the 30% or so of members that are unhappy stay. Yes, Joseph Smith was/is a prophet. Yes, the Book of Mormon is true. These facts do not make the LDS branch of Mormonism true or the one and only true church. Christ has many churches but one Gospel. If you’re not happy where you are, Christ has a home for you.

    cjccf.org/priesthood-keys-passed-down/

  57. “Jana Riess, you are apostate.”

    I view that statement as an unintended accolade, although I realize your intent was to chastise Jana for not being nearly as gullible as she should be. I commend her for having considerable ability and willingness to think independently and rationally. Sadly, she is still a “proud member” of the LDS Church, but hopefully she is on a journey toward realizing the fact that her Church was built on a foundation of blatant fraud.

  58. Jana SHOULD be proud of having considerable ability and willingness to think independently and rationally, and also having the courage to express it publicly in the face of her Church which views gullibility as a necessary virtue.

  59. Or perhaps she did indeed pray, and God told her something that your heart is too hard, too self righteous to hear.

    You never know with God, despite how certain some people are about their knowledge of god’s relationship with anyone not themselves.

  60. But if they did all of that, how would they have time to obsess about other people’s genitalia?

  61. And yet another good Christian compares gay people to thieves and adultery.

  62. The highly religious are obsessed with their own and other people’s Sex lives.
    The non religious are only obsessed with their own.

  63. When was the last time you saw an organized political campaign, directed by Christians and costing millions, directed at ending any of our undeclared wars, or eliminating poverty in this country?

    And I’m pretty sure I have NEVER seen a political campaign, manned, promulgated, and funded by Christians, to do a single thing about gun violence in this country or sensible gun regulation,

  64. I for one, am considering a better class of Christian!! My own ‘issues’ with the LDS Church comes a lot from my being Single (60 years) never really seeking a marriage of any kind, nor having children. I don’t ‘fit’ in to the Mormon culture! Never have, never will. But I believe that AFTER Joseph Smith the church is preaching “the doctrine of men” and professing that is from God!! Hersey!! Continuing my Search.

  65. The Church ‘Doubled Down” in ~1948, declaring that the policy of racial exclusion from the Mormon ‘priesthood’ authority was directly from God. The statement was signed by the first presidency and distributed to all church leaders – all men.

    The policy was recanted in 1978; then disavowed as being a direction from God in 2013.

    The ‘revelation’ of racial equality was at first regarded as a revelation, but in 2013; (an official post on the Church website with no credit of authorship maintains that the racially discriminatory policies were started by Brigham Young, not the Church founder, ( which is not true), and further states that racial policies were never directed by God.

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_racial_issues/Blacks_and_the_priesthood/Statements

  66. “Forget everything I have said, or what…Brigham Young…or whomsoever has said…that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.”

    Bruce R. McConkie, “New Revelation on Priesthood,” Priesthood (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981), 126-137; republication of original address of Bruce R. McConkie, “All Are Alike Unto God,” address at CES Religious Educators Symposium, 18 August 1978.

    Newsflash: Still speaking with limited understanding and without light and knowledge that now has come to the world: We have scientific knowledge that race and sexual preference are inborn, God given traits. Deal with it.

  67. You are correct. She should be embarrassed by her membership. I certainly was in 1977.

  68. Is there any reason that you can think of, that God would deny your good friend a leadership role in his ‘Kingdom on Earth”?

  69. Yes, another article giving comfort and ammunition to critics and enemies of the Church. Now I would raise my arm in support of making the Proclamation to the World official canon. But I don’t think Jana thinks it’s inspired. She seems to know more about the Plan of Salvation than the leaders of her Church.

  70. In your mind is there even such a thing as sexual transgression?

  71. At least this go-’round, one hundred years from now when LDS leadership abandons their misguided policy against two loving human beings, they can’t look back at today and say, “we don’t know where the policy originated — it wasn’t a revelation.” Banning Blacks from the priesthood wasn’t revelation either although for some reason it took revelation to end it. Funny thing that supposed “revelation.”

  72. Yep. It involves acts without consent. I could hardly call the loving consenting relationship of two adults who are starting a family together such a thing.

    Btw I don’t oppose polygamy on moral grounds. I oppose it on legal grounds. It wreaks havoc on our existing laws concerning marital rights and obligations. If polygamists want their unions legal, they need to draft revisions of existing laws which provide for equitable treatment for all spouses under such conditions.

  73. Precisely so. There is no legal framework for multi-person marriages, and no one has suggested such a framework that wouldn’t give individuals in such marriages far fewer rights than those in two-person marriages.

  74. I’m so glad that you are a strong supporter of same-sex legal marriage and equality of all other legal rights for LGBT people. Good for you, Mr. Whitlock!

  75. Yes – primarily (if not only) acts lacking consent. Which is not what we are discussing when we talk of 2 people committing to one another in marriage.

    Some would say infidelity too, but when you have more than one wife, fidelity isn’t part of the conversation.

  76. If the author is so concerned about the way that the LDS church treats members who identify as LGBTQ, which I agree is and has always been disgusting, then it’s time to stop being a “proud member” of the religion. People have been turning away from Mormonism and its sad legacy of racism and sexism for decades. They’re courageous and smart. People who hang around while it stays its familiar stupid and ugly self can’t claim those accolades.

  77. You find the “revelation hard to swallow given the bizarre way it was handled”??? Oh, so if it were handled better, then the idea that an invisible flying man telepathically ordering people around would make perfect sense? So if were handled better, there could indeed be instructions from some phantom superman? What if it were “handled” perfectly – you name your way that would convince you – and the message was that African Americans are to be put back into inferior status? It shows again that the only way to evaluate an idea is by looking at how it affects real people, with evidence and reason – and “divine revelation” is a euphemism for delusion. The fact that the author is seriously considering whether or not the absurdity of that makes sense based on how it was handled or whether or not it was “really” divine made it so clear to me why magical, supernatural thinking is simply toxic to any kind of just and healthy world.

  78. The talk about Nelson interests me in that he is said to be a prophet. I’m interested in how Mormons define “prophet”. It seems to differ from that of my own Faith, at least if the views of the author are the norm. My understanding of a “prophet”, from my own Faith, would not be able to speak falsely and every word spoken would be a Revelation, the basic idea being that a prophet-to be of any use whatsoever-would by necessity need to be guarded from error.

    Do Mormon prophets only gain a connection with God during a limited amount of time?? How does this method of communication and revelation work, if not continuous??

  79. Everyone here seems to be conflating gender, and gender /roles/.

    Not sure what standing one has to criticize the Mormon leadership for conflating sex and gender when you at the same time seem to think “gender” and “gender roles” are synonymous. Sex is physical. Gender is psychological. Gender roles are societal.

    If gender and gender roles were the same, then a woman soldier would be no different from a FTM trans person, but this is clearly not the case.

  80. Hat+Rock+Head=Revelation. Oh and I forgot… Flaming Sword Angels

  81. “or husband and wife and wife.”

    You have something against polyamorous people??

    “Or husband and neighbor’s wife.”

    Now I’m a pretty big geek when it comes to knowing about religions, but I cannot recall a single one that explicitly permits a man to commit adultery.

    “or husband and uunder aged girl”

    Or wife and “underaged” boy. The age of consent is varied over history, and still varies from culture to culture. What makes YOUR particular standard the RIGHT one, objectively??

  82. “the highly religious are obsessed with sex in our day and time”

    Historically illiterate on the subject of religion, I see. The most sexual of religious texts (Song of Songs, Kama Sutra, etc.) are all quite old. Martin Luther wrote on the topic of his preferred sexual positions. Not to mention the agent ties of feminine sexuality and certain indigenous European religions.

  83. So you oppose polygamy because you favor the current system of granting tax incentives and special rights and privileges upon two-person unions, and the existence of greater-than-two-person unions threatens the state privileges associated with current marital law.

    Seems mighty unfair to me.

  84. It’s completely absurd in either case. A limited-time prophet is just as delusional as a full time prophet. Please show me evidence of any prophet. Can you point to anyone who consistently got data from a goddess or gods that can be shown to be both correct and beyond what the person could have supplied by themselves? Imagine if an omniscient deity could tell us something – anything. What a wonder! Would not a good deity immediately tell us what the cure for cancer was, or a supply of clean energy, or the way to stop aging, or prevent birth deformities, or so many other pieces of actual knowledge? Yet we get these poor misled people saying they can hear an invisible, omniscient person – who, instead of telling us anything actually helpful, instead tells us to hate gays?!?! Come. On. And people are still gullible enough to believe them – and debate whether the superstition is part-time or full time! Religion hurts us all.

  85. “include that thing about adultery. But I have a hard time seeing how that translates into exclusivity of sexual activity, at least for unmarried people.”

    The languages used to write that “thing about adultery” did not use the modern English term to which it is translated. The original word refers to sex outside of marriage. That’s why that translates that way.

  86. “When was the last time you saw an organized political campaign, directed by Christians and costing millions, directed at ending any of our undeclared wars”

    Numerous times. Then again, I’m more connected with the anti-war movement than most.

    “or eliminating poverty in this country?”

    That’s, like, what almost all Christian charitable groups I know of focus on. Unless you think the ONLY method of fighting poverty is to petition the state to fight poverty FOR you, I have no idea what you are talking about.

    “I’m pretty sure I have NEVER seen a political campaign, manned, promulgated, and funded by Christians, to do a single thing about gun violence in this country or sensible gun regulation,”

    I’ve seen plenty of anti-gun Christians. The only part of THIS I haven’t seen is the “sensible gun regulation”, but that’s only because I haven’t seen ANYONE advocate “sensible gun regulation”. Every time a shooting happens the ONLY things people do are call for regulations that wouldn’t have even stopped that specific tragedy. Shooter passed a background check and people demand background checks. Shooter used a non-assault rifle, people call to ban assault weapons. I’ve never seen anyone call for “sensible gun regulation”, so I’ll agree with you that I’ve seen no Christians do so either.

    But overall, I’ve seen anti-gun Christians, Christian groups who sided with me on issues of anti-War, and I can’t begin to count the number of Christian charities fighting poverty.

    Broaden your worldview. Go outside and interact with people. Generally, the world and people and groups other than your own are far more diverse than you assume.

  87. Generally, we are having a failure to communicate. I generally choose my words pretty carefully.

    There are antiwar campaigns from some Christian denominations, most likely, the liberal ones.. But do they approach the $40 million spent in one year on prop. 8? I doubt it.

    I’m sure there are Antigun Christians. But where is the national presence? How many. millions are they spending. And why did you undermine your own position?

    Sure, Christians feed people. Is that a national campaign to end poverty? are they busy supporting the Republican Party and its anti-poor campaigns?

  88. Not exactly. But getting there. Until our binary based marriage laws and obligations can be revised in an equitable fashion which isn’t a complete mess, nobody needs to consider legalized polygamy. Not just tax benefits but a host of debts, obligations and rights involved. Marriage carries a default status for many laws which don’t work well in a polygamous situation.

  89. Ya got a real answer for this religion geek, or ya just here to troll Mormons??

    Not that I NEED to ask…

  90. True, but that just seems like evidence that maybe marital status shouldn’t involve laws and rights.

  91. Nothing against polyamorous people. I have no interest in running other peoples’ lives for them. I’lL leave that to good Christians, I’m merely pointing out the falsity of zampona’s statement.

    Second example a bit facetious, if you don’t care about King David

    Third example: FLDS. Or islAm.

  92. “There are antiwar campaigns from some Christian denominations, most likely, the liberal ones”

    If you are right, then they probably haven’t spent anything RECENTLY. The antiwar left abandoned the rest of us as soon as a left-leaning president came to power.

    “But do they approach the $40 million spent in one year on prop. 8? I doubt it.”

    Back when the Republicans were in charge, the only time in which the anti-war left bothers to join the rest of us, yeah, that kind of money WAS being thrown around, by Christians. Both in specifically Christian groups and secular ones.

    “I’m sure there are Antigun Christians. But where is the national presence? How many. millions are they spending.”

    Pretty big national presence and lots being spent on anti-gun lobbying. You’d have to be foolish to think that Christians AREN’T a part of that massive, political, virtue-signalling-filled mess of a movement.

    “And why did you undermine your own position?”

    Honesty. There’s one point in your post I agree with. I’m an honest person, so I admit to agreeing with that one point even if I don’t agree with the rest. It’s not always a US VERSUS THEM situation. I can agree with you on one point and disagree with the rest.

    Overall, my point is: People involved in anti-gun measures do not, regardless of being Christian or non-Christian, EVER advocate “sensible” gun regulation. It’s always, only, ever advocating something that would not have stopped the tragedy that caused the lobbying in the first place. Christian anti-gun folks are not different from other anti-gun folks in this regard. They’re ALL just virtue signalling so that society knows that they think the most recent tragedy was bad and that they want to #DoSomething about it.

    “Sure, Christians feed people. Is that a national campaign to end poverty?”

    Yes. Charity is a campaign against poverty. That’s literally what it is. If you give a homeless man a sandwich, then you have contributed, even by a small amount, to a fight against poverty. Massive Christian-run charities, are thus campaigns against poverty, whether you like that or not.

    “are they busy supporting the Republican Party and its anti-poor campaigns?”

    Accusing one party of being “anti-poor” without the other is rather rich. Let’s take the democratic-made “Cash for Clunkers” initiative, which allowed middle class people to take their old cars OFF THE MARKET so that they could be DESTROYED and get nicer, fancier cars. Those cars that were DESTROYED by the Democrats WOULD have gone on to become used cars, affordable transportation for the LOWER CLASS, but the Democrats decided to create that particular policy to benefit the MIDDLE CLASS at the expense of DENYING poor people the used cars they would have otherwise been able to obtain. It is CURRENTLY Democrats in New York leading the fight against lower-class Asian immigrant-owned salon workers. The current Democratic presidential candidate is swimming in corporate dollars while Democratic pundits lambaste the Republican candidate for being “broke” because he DOESN’T have those same corporate donations!!

    It’s a JOKE if you believe that any ONE party of the two corporate-and-media-controlled parties has a monopoly on being “anti-poor”.

    And, furthermore, even IF just one party had a monopoly on passing laws to disadvantage the lower classes, the notion that Christians are supporting “Republicans” is nonsense. Current polls have Trump seen as more favorable with Evangelical Christians ONLY, while all OTHER Christian groups see Clinton more favorably. It looks like, at the current moment, they are supporting the (anti-poor) Democrats rather than the (anti-poor) Republicans.

  93. That is just plain silly. Marital status is nothing but laws and rights. Always has been. Religious notions of marriage are the latecomers not the origins.

    One never needs a religious marriage. But a legal one is very important to people. At no point is there a necessity to cede marriage to religious notions.

  94. I am just using the simple facts of how it has been done. I’m not Mormon so I wouldn’t know how to answer these mysteries? I guess pay pray and obey.

  95. Suicide rates among the gay community are generally higher than the average population. I would like Jana to provide statistics on this increase in suicides among LGBT LDS youth. The Salt Lake Tribune (not exactly an LDS outlet) tried it and couldn’t find any accurate statistics. Obviously, any suicide is terribly tragic, but to exaggerate numbers doesn’t serve those in need of help.

  96. In antiquity, I suspect there were generally two types of prophets ~ 1) prophets that were largely delusional true believers, and 2) prophets that were largely scammers who realized that posing as a prophet could be used to gain power/control over human thinking processes, beliefs, and behavior. In today’s world, I suspect that a person becomes a prophet for profit.

  97. And yet you’d think we’d learn. Obviously not. Something wrong with progression? I mind my business about your private time and vice versa……..Sounds good to me.

  98. He also expects you not to concern yourself with judging the spiritual status of anyone else, but you certainly don’t pay that any attention, do you?

    Tolerance is not a fundamental virtue? Well, that pretty much underlines your total position, doesn’t it? Your fundamental virtue may be to love your particular and peculiar version of God. We don’t worship the same one. And no matter much fundelibangelists tell me they love me, when they seek to harm my family and my participation in society because of their particular notions of sin, I’m afraid I just don’t believe it’s about love.

  99. Joseph Smith said “a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such.” And yes, that can make things complicated when your prophets are also your theologians. Thankfully, we’ve long moved away from that.

  100. “If the Church has no the authority to tell its members that they may not engage in homosexual marriages, then it has no authority at all.”

    Okay. I’m totally onboard with that idea; no authority at all for the Church. It can just stop trying to dictate and actually try to lead. it might even come across as a moral institution if it took that approach, but don’t count on it. But if LDS Church leaders were not fallen prophets, the Church would totally embrace LGBT as the gifts of God that they are. They are just as wrong on this issue as they were on Blacks and the Priesthood until 1978. Bigotry is a bad substitution for actual inspiration.

  101. “Actually, If you think about it, it is just so the children don’t have to feel pressure to choose between the church and their parents – they are just too young and not able to deal with conflict.”

    Actually, that’s a truckload of horse manure and wordsmithing to justify harsh brutality against already persecuted innocents within the LDS Church. Children of LGBT deal with conflict every time they let any Molly Mormon bigot know that their family structure differs from the officially approved version of a family. This “revelation” simply empowers the bigots to persecute with impunity.

  102. “it is clear that God has commanded that sexual activity be exclusive to husband and wife”
    Yep. My Mormon ancestors got sidelined by the Church for choosing to be monogamous when polygamy was the big commandment from the Lord. During the last 20 years of polygamy, when the US government was pushing hard to end it, men who did not enter into plural marriage did not become bishops, stake presidents or even elder’s quorum presidents. That’s why the Raid was so effective against the Church. All priesthood authority from the Elder’s Quorum Presidency in every ward, stake and the General Authorities were in hiding or in jail for polygamy during the Raid. But my monogamous Mormon ancestors had no fear of jail because they never lived that “commandment.”

  103. Joseph Smith had 40 plural wives, but only cohabitated with about 5 women among them. The dude simply did not have time in the day or night to get physical with even a small portion of them. Most of the “marriages” were in name only and included girls too young to leave home (age 14 to 17) and old ladies up to twice Smith’s age. The average age was about Smith’s own age of early to mid-thirties. But just the fact that he entered into marriage with teen girls and little old ladies makes modern Mormon insistence on “authority to define marriage” ridiculous at best. Mormons have officially been all over the map on marriage.

  104. Utah leads in porn because of the hypocrisy of the Church on sexual purity. Keep those zippers up until marriage and then breed like rabbits after. With all that pent up sexuality, porn is the safety value.

  105. Why same sex marriage? Why so much talk about this?

  106. You’re welcome. Thanks for illustrating mine.

  107. Because of the conservative and fundelibangelists obsession with homosexuality and other people’s gentialia?
    How is that for a starting place.

  108. Lol I don’t think it’s that simple.

  109. Hey gay people are people. BEING GAY ISN’T A CHOICE.

  110. It is time for those who reject the revealed teachings in the Proclamation and the ststements by Elder Nelson on how the current policies were created to stop being back biting wolves in sheeps clothing and leave the Church wgose teachings they reject fully.

    I am also sick of people using the fact that people who have embraced a destructive lifestyle commit suicide to attack the religion of others.

  111. I guess the issue is whether one is open to the idea that LDS Prophets can be wrong. I think it’s clear they have been and continue to be wrong.

    Is there is some value in being obedient to men who are wrong for whatever reason vs. deciding for yourself what to accept and what not to. I think getting at truth trump loyalty to something just because you were born into it or for loyalty’s sake.

    Joseph Smith wasn’t loyal to the tradition he was raised with and pursued truth instead. How is that process now longer valid for LDS?

Leave a Comment