If Mormonism becomes liberal and progressive, won’t it decline even more?

Yesterday I was a guest on the Salt Lake Tribune’s “Mormon Land” podcast, discussing The Next Mormons and trends we are seeing among Mormon Millennials. You can listen to the podcast here—among other things, the three of us discussed why more Millennials appear to be leaving Mormonism than was the case for older generations.

One listener, who identified himself as a Baby Boomer with Millennial adult children, subsequently wrote to tell me that my conclusions were “outside the historic context” and that “with a little more research and study” I would “discover that conservative, strict, and demanding religions grow, while progressive, permissive and accommodating religions are in decline—some in rapid decline.”

While he didn’t dispute our study’s specific findings that Mormon Millennials are different from older Mormons in their behaviors and political values, he felt the suggestions I offered for helping the LDS Church better engage with Millennials were wrong-headed. The LDS Church thrived when hard-line leaders such as Harold B. Lee and Ezra Taft Benson fully resisted the liberalizing trends of American culture, he asserted, with average growth in those years being several times the meager rate the Church had in 2016 (1.59%).

To read: Mormon growth rate slows to its lowest level since 1937. Here’s why that’s good news.

The current decline we’re seeing, this listener seems to suggest, is because the LDS Church has already accommodated too much, and I am a fool not to see it. “Unfortunately, like so many of your age, with your progressive and permissive perspectives, you are prescribing the very worst remedy to address those findings,” he lectured.

I’m not sure what age this gentleman imagines I am (I am 48), but he is correct that a popular sociological theory has long argued that conservative religions that make high demands of their members will flourish, while progressive ones that maintain more porous boundaries will inevitably decline. This theory has been advocated by Rodney Stark, Roger Finke, and Laurence Iannoconne, among other social scientists.

So let's talk about that theory, because it has been influential, particularly -- and not surprisingly -- among conservatives. (And why wouldn't it be? The theory tells them that they're superior precisely because of their conservatism. What's not to love?)

For a long time, the strict-religions theory seemed to explain a great deal, at least in the United States: in the 1980s and 1990s, conservative religions were indeed thriving even as mainline Protestantism’s numbers went down the toilet.

More recent work has called this into question, driven by the reality that almost all religious traditions are now struggling — even conservative ones like evangelical Protestantism and Mormonism, which once seemed so reliably immune.

Sociologist Darren Sherkat calls the old strict-church theory the “supply side” thesis, since it assumes that religion is akin to a free market economy in which a religion might increase its market share through the conversions of people who are attracted to its unique message. Sherkat contrasts it with the other main thesis that is gaining ground, secularization:

. . . secularization theories argue that as the United States becomes more secular, religious attachments will become less important. Hence, secularization proponents expect to find that nonaffiliation is increasing, that religious switching is more common, and that more fundamentalist and exclusivist religious groups will decline or only increase through fertility differentials.

And that is indeed the case: all three of those factors he mentions are now happening. If supply-side theories alone could explain why liberal religions seemed to decline in the 1990s and beyond, Sherkat argues, we would see evidence that the exodus from liberal traditions such as mainline Protestantism was matched by a corresponding growth in conservative religions that was not already due to those religions’ higher fertility – and the data don’t show that.

That's not to say that the secularization theorists have it all right, either; Sherkat says their "grand, linear, evolutionary perspective" of religious decline "is just as far-fetched as the supply-side stories yearning for a sectarian Christian America." Rather, religious decline is related to broader demographic patterns that are complex and ever-changing, from declining fertility and immigration to generational replacement. A big part of the problem is that Americans are having fewer kids.

Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow explains it well:

Some argued that [mainline Protestantism declined because] people wanted strict churches and these had become too lax. The better evidence, though, showed that nearly all the decline in mainline denominations was attributable to demographics. Mainline members were better educated and more likely to be middle class or upper-middle class than the rest of the population. As such, mainline members married later, had children later, and had fewer of them. Memberships declined because there were simply fewer children being born into these denominations. Evangelical Protestants, meanwhile, escaped these demographic problems. As long as they kept marrying young and having large families, their growth would make up for the mainline losses. There is just one problem: the same demographics that caused problems for mainline churches are now prevalent in the whole society.

To sum up: liberal religions’ loss has not been our gain. Conservative religions, at best, used to hold steady as a percentage of the population; now we are not even doing that.

Instead, the real growth has been in nonaffiliation, as people are no longer switching religions so much as dropping out altogether. About 7% of Americans claimed no religious identification in the early 1970s, when the General Social Survey began tracking it. In 2016, according to PRRI, that group (the “Nones”) had nearly quadrupled to 26% of the U.S. population – and there are signs it will only accelerate through cohort replacement. As you can see from the infographic up top, among younger Millennials in 2016, 39% had no affiliation.

So no, it is not a foregone conclusion that strict religious traditions will thrive and liberal ones will fail. With the rapid secularization happening in America, most religions are failing, some worse than others. For this listener to argue that Mormonism did well in the 1970s and 1980s only because of its conservative leadership is a myopic view that misses the larger picture of what was happening in the American religious landscape. It also ignores salient historical factors even within Mormonism itself (for example, that the Church’s lax policies about baptismal preparation in those decades artificially and temporarily inflated Mormonism’s numeric success).

But I don’t think this man is wholly wrong, either. I am skeptical of any one sociological theory that claims to fully explain either growth or decline. One thing I like about Wuthnow and Sherkat’s work, in contrast to Stark's single-minded vision, is how well they explore how various factors may work in combination. Drawing on their work, for example, I would respond to this fellow that at the very least, the conservative subculture of American Mormonism in the 1970s and 1980s created an environment in which Mormons were receptive to leaders’ insistence that they marry young and have large families – and that those two factors, rather than strictness per se, have shown a high correlation with religious activity.

In short: it’s complicated.

Related posts:


  1. Understanding Mormonism

    The Book of Mormon is “the most perfect book ever published” according to a number of Mormon leaders (gee, what a surprise…).

    If that is correct, why has the LDS church found it necessary to make more tha 3,900 changes to the book??

    Part of the reason is that the book contains its fair share of racism.

    Racism of all kinds, in fact, has been a characteristic of the LDS church. Several prominent LDS church leaders have expressed various forms of racism. For exampple, LDS leader Mark Petersen in 1952 made some very nasty remarks about African Americans. Other Mormon leaders also were racists, e.g. LDS church president Ezra Taft Benson.

    Similarly, J. Reuben Clark was a notorious anti-Semite. And there are many other examples. Nor has thev church apologized for ANY of this racism.

    Don’t take my word for all this–google it yourself and see.

  2. Jana, I think you have something unique to offer on this topic, because of your personal story: you yourself are one of those people who made the decision to leave mainline Protestantism and join a church that your listener described as, quote ‘conservative, strict, and demanding….’, even though you argue against some of those rules and a more general mindset that sometimes equates faithfulness with diligence in following a strict set of rules. I wonder if your own story sheds some light on your topic in this article-

    I wonder: Is it possible that it isn’t the rules themselves in strict religious traditions that attract people, but that following those strict rules inculcates something else in the community, something else that DOES attract people? Do these strict rules give a community a stronger sense of identity than more open groups, and this strong sense of identity attracts people?

    In my experience in a relatively liberal mainline protestant church, our rate of passing on our faith to our kids approaches zero. I look longingly at our friends in ‘strict’ churches like the LDS or traditionalist Catholics, whose kids almost always stay in the faith, and I wonder what we can learn from them. To survive, would we have to abandon our commitments to full inclusion of women, inclusion of lgbt people, social justice, ecumenical efforts and use of higher criticism in interpreting sacred texts? Your ‘iistener’ would probably say ‘yes’ –

  3. Howard: Most communities that go back over 100 years have some dark spots relating to racism or much worse. However, people learn, and can change for the better. I would suggest that we shouldn’t judge the LDS Church, or any other institution, on what they did 200 years ago, but look at what they are saying and doing today, and in my observation the LDS Church today is working hard to be racially sensitive and inclusive.

  4. 1. The LDS church issued a document of some length perhaps 5 years ago, detailing racism in its past history.

    But unlike other institutions and religions, it has never issued an apology for that racism.

    2. Even so, that document it issued a few years ago was grossly incomplete, and issued only after lots of delay–unnecessary delay, because the information was there in plain sight.

    3. In the interests of comprehensive accuracy, in the contacts I’ve had with Mormons, and in what I’ve read and seen of them, I’ve never found that individual Mormons are particularly nasty, racist, or filled with hate. Indeed. I, and many people I know, would much rather have a Mormon living next door than, say, a member of the Southern Baptist convention.

    4. I agree with you that the LDS church does seem to be working hard to be inclusive.

    5. All this said…there are still plenty of things about the LDS church that I think any thinking person would find quite troubling.

  5. What important observations and questions. I’ve been thinking today about Armand Mauss’s excellent “angel and the beehive” hypothesis, in which the pendulum swings between accommodation and retrenchment in Mormonism so the Church can maintain that optimal tension with the host society. Mauss is so right that this is the goal, and that it’s easier said than done. I argue in my book’s conclusion that the Church appears to be trying to do both at once right now (as with its support of LoveLoud and its support of bakers to refuse to bake cakes for same-sex couples in the same two-week period last year). We’re seeing both assimilation and retrenchment simultaneously. American society has shifted so rapidly, especially with public opinion on LGBT issues, that it’s nigh impossible for the Church to stake a claim for optimal tension right now — it’s such a moving target.

    On the other hand, I like what you say here about the desire to inculcate a distinctive and lasting faith in the rising generation. The challenge for Mormonism is going to be in choosing elements to emphasize that are distinctive and rigorous but at the same time not so controversial that they become an albatross around the Church’s neck. So it makes sense that the Church is pushing toward a more demanding observance of the Sabbath, for example, because it would hit that sweet spot, making Mormonism distinctive and unusual in its religious observance but not in a way that would substantially turn off other people. (In fact, in our hurry-and-worry culture, there are far worse things Mormons could be known for than that we would be the people who unplug and spend time with family every Sunday.)

  6. Even if the explanation is more about demographics and not politics, this still begs the question of why people in some demographic categories (such as level of education) are attracted to liberal vs conservative churches. As a generality, I think it is still fairly accurate to make the claim that as denominations become more liberal, they are more likely to experience decline. In the original formulations of supply side theories, it was not so much about liberal or conservative, but instead more about cultural tension with the surrounding social environment. The argument is that as a religious belief system tends toward secular values (coming from either far left or far right), the value it holds for people, in terms of collective identity, declines because those beliefs are supported in secular culture and you don’t need a sub-culture or strong sub-cultural collective identity to feel empowered and accepted in those beliefs.

    I am no fan of Stark but I think his theory still explains much about Mormonism if you take the long view. In it’s beginnings Mormonism was radical. The core beliefs and practices included radical anti-capitalism and radical non-monogamy. The strangeness of the Mormon people partially explains the salience of the religion within the larger culture. Granted, the most radical strangeness was done away with over a hundred years ago, but I think Mormons still embraced some declining degree of strangeness until about the 1980’s and 90’s, when the protestentization of Mormonism was basically completed (and growth rates started to look flat). Now you have Mitt Romney Mormonism instead of JS’s Mormonism. Now Mormons are pillars of capitalist and monogamous values, instead of radical contraries. As a people, mormons have fallen more and more into line with the secular values of capitalism and monogamy. Compare the milquetoast protestant ideas of say Stephen Robinson (or whatever other protestant in mormon clothing you prefer, including the Q15) to the authentic Mormonism of the early radicals. This contrast is exactly what Stark and Iannaccone were talking about in their early conceptions of club model theories of religion (now more commonly known as “supply-side” theories)

  7. These are both sites with a stated “pro Mormon” bias. I’d much prefer to read material on a site that at least *says* it tries to be neutral or objective.

    My view of the LDS church is that it has a long, very well-documented history of lying, of overlooking “problems” with its leaders (e.g. clearly stated racism, past support of the Nazi regime), of doing its best to suppress research that would undermine its stated beliefs (e.g. Native Americans/12 Tribes, Egyptian funerary papyri, etc)

    But I will definitely look at the sites you cite above, to see what they say and whether they tell further lies to shore up their beliefs.

  8. Am I correct in assuming that you know what Occam’s Razor is?

  9. I believe that what will strengthen the Church, and long-term growth and/or retention, will be a radical commitment to the Truth and Right. That it won’t matter whether a particular truth happens to fall under the current label of ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’, whether the society at large first recognized that truth, or it was found in some other obscure culture, or if it is brand new revelation altogether. What will be more important is the commitment to truth and right wherever it comes from. I believe that strength of integrity is what builds trust and ultimately draws people to its light.

  10. Thank you for the references to the Fairmormon.org and mormoninterpreter sites.

    As I suspected, both are devoted to defending everything Mormon, regardless of truth. This is to be expected in any “true believer” in any ideology.

    These sites are, of course, full of lies, distortions, and problems of various sorts.

    For example, consider a statement on this page:


    Here is the statement:

    Summary: It is true that LDS scripture states that those with lighter skin color “are favored because of what they did as spirits in a pre-earth life?”

    So is this a question, or a statement?

    Elsewhere, the name of apostle Mark Petersen is rendered as Peterson. So much for accuracy, eh?

    Or consider this, from


    –this page says that, regarding racist comments by Mark Petersen, “Not everything said by a leader of the Church is considered doctrine”.

    Fair enough–but isn’t Petersen regarded as “inspired by god”? And since he was presumably influential in the church, doesn’t his remark reflect badly on the church?

    Similarly, this page–

    contains the following:

    Repudiated early Mormon teachings regarding race

    Summary: There exist previously taught ideas which have been repudiated by Church leaders since the ban. Among these are the notion that Blacks were somehow not as “valiant” in the pre-existence, and that interracial marriage is forbidden.

    But if the BoM was inspired by god, how could it contain racist ideas?

    This is just a sample. I will continue to read these pages, since they provide lots of interesting info about how TBMs defend the faith–and how gullible they think others are.

  11. It might be illuminating to ask how the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ is doing in its development toward a liberal, main stream body: Community of Christ (known from 1872 to 2001 as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS)). I understand they have a study commission asking of what relevance the Book of Mormon may be to modern life. (I must admit I have no idea, but do believe this body started its liberalization long before Salt Lake City.)

  12. The last numbers I saw showed hardly any decrease in church activity even while the percentage of Unaffiliateds jumped, which would seem to indicate that they aren’t so much leaving their churches as acknowledging a break that had already occurred — reality finally reflected in the statistics.

    Also, on the impact of changing doctrine/theology on membership levels, certainly the rigor of the standards themselves are important (something Paul had to contend with, new Christians looking for more rigor in the Law), but the doctrine/theology itself is important as well. I remember one pastor I read of in a column on this site who came out in favor of same-sex marriage, and had his congregation decline by half within a year.

  13. I have no idea if numbers would go up or down if the church moves toward a more liberal stance on may topics. When you have 60,000 full time missionaries(or whatever the number is) you have a decent shot at maintaining some growth. What I do think, is the church would be a far healthier place for people to meet and worship together. I recently attended a community of Christ meeting and it was refreshingly nice to see a different approach than the old,dry conservative approach that stifles any thought outside the narrow band that has come to define the church.It would be a welcome change.

  14. Here is an especially important quite one might wish to know about the LDS church.

    “There is no such thing as an accurate, objective history of the Church without consideration of the spiritual powers that attend this work….”

    In other words…a neutral, objective historian cannot possibly write anything accurate about the LDS church without taking into consideration church doctrine. .

    Does anyone know of any other church or religion that takes this position?

    from “The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than The Intellect,” Mormon Apostle Boyd K. Packer, talk to Mormon historians and teachers, Fifth Annual Church Educational System Religious Educators’ Symposium, 22 August, 1981, Brigham Young University

  15. The RLDS also wasn’t strapped with plural marriage, the Temple endowment or baptism for the dead through all of those years. It also practiced a hereditary Prophet as head of the Church until recent date when the Prophet had no hereditary heir. It also observes a more traditional concept of the Trinity than the resurrected human, God as highest priesthood office, tri-theism of the LDS Church. It’s leadership structure is an example of that of the LDS Church prior to following Brigham Young to the Great Salt Lake Valley. The modernization of that structure has mostly been opening the priesthood to women.

  16. Apostles of the LDS Church have often had to eat their own words, Elder Bruce R McConkie for example, author of Mormon Doctrine.

  17. I don’t believe that there are any sites that are objective or neutral about the LDS Church. He has his apologist site preferences and you have your anti-Mormon sites. You think that his favorored sites are filled with “full of lies, distortions, and problems of various sorts.” I know f4rom experience that the sites that you favor are filled “lies, distortions, and problems of various sorts.”

    What is bizarre to me is the amount of time and effort that you appear to put into disbelieving and disproving something that in the end shouldn’t have any effect on your life. The LDS Church doesn’t have a big enfluence in US life and less and less even in Utah and Idaho.

  18. Charman Mao, sounds like a toilet tissue salesman.

  19. I don’t know if he ever actually acknowledged he was wrong, but any thinking person knew he’d made himself look very foolish. .

    Years ago, in Mormon Doctrine I read the section on “Negroes” (I think that was the title) and it was drivel, of course–valiance in the pre-existence, something like that. Then, after the 1978 “revelation”, that section entirely disappeared, with no acknowledgement that he’d been wrong. .

    I guess most religions don’t like to acknowledge they’ve been wrong; smartasses like me might say “Uhh, excuse me, if you were wrong about THAT, maybe you’re wrong about THIS current issue?”

  20. I actually put in very little time on this; I have a good memory, and I’m interested in the behavior of believers and organizations, so any time I put in produces interesting results for me.

    It’s clear to me that the LDS church is a fraud from beginning to end (golden plates? Seer stone? c’mon, be serious); and clearly, current leaders understand this, which is why they downplay study of LDS history (e.g. Mountain Meadows massacre, LDS church in Nazi Germany, Helmut Huebener, etc).

    I believe, however, that the LDS church does influence US life and politics (Orrin Hatch, most obviously).

    One reason I’m interested in this is that I spend some time in Utah.

  21. He was born into a Therevadic Budhhist household and both of his parents were devout followers. He was devout as a young child, but abandoned those beliefs in his teen years. He also studied clasic Confucianism in school, but was never a believer. He said that he disliked having to read the classic books. His Communist regime persecuted and suppressed most religion in the PRC, although some forms of Budhhism have escaped that suppression. Like many atheists, he came to it as an adult. There is serious doubt that the man held to any religious belief as an adult up to his death.

  22. There are statements in our literature by the early Brethren that we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, “You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?” All I can say is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or George Q. Cannon or whoever has said in days past 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.
    It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the Gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the Gentiles.

    Horne, Dennis B. (2000). Bruce R. McConkie: Highlights From His Life & Teachings. Eborn Books.

  23. I *think* I get the idea of speaking with limited understanding etc etc. It is certainly true that almost all of us have limited understanding of most of the things about which we speak. And I’m sure you will not disagree that some have even more sharply limited understanding–especially if they have not studied lots of relevant texts.

    1. I’ve never seen any statement from any religious leader of any faith or denomination that points that out to readers.

    Even more significant, in the :LDS church, especially, I have NEVER seen any apology for foolish or incorrect statements of the past. Can you point me to any such?

    2. Even more significant, my understanding of LDS teachings is that bishops (and higher) are somehow inspired by god.

    If that is so, how can they be speaking nonsense or incomplete ideas?

    And should they be immune from criticism for speaking incorrectly–as LDS leaders are?

    Indeed, wouldn’t all faiths benefit from vigorous PUBLIC discussion of their teachings?

    Moreover, there are certain denominations or religions that somehow managed to get ideas *right* about things like racism and so on, long before others had figured it out. The Southern Baptist Convention is an excellent illustration of taking way too long to figure things out…as is the LDS church and the RCC.

  24. I wonder: did McConkie ever apologize for (I believe) fomenting such disrespect, indeed hatred, towards African Americans? Did he ever say, flat-out, “I was wrong, and I will try to be more humble in things I write from now on”?

  25. I think that if you look further into the inspairation of bishops and higher, the LDS believe that their leaders are inspired by God regarding their responsibilities of their individual calling, a bishop regarding his ward, a State President his stake, etc.

    The LDS don’t expect inspiration, such as the 1978 revelation to Pres. Harold B Lee regarding Blacks, to come from local leadership.

  26. But, you see, you don’t have to be a genius to see that the LDS position regarding blacks–and the EVIL statements of so many LDS leaders about blacks–was clearly contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Certain denominations recognized this, e.g. the Episcopalians; and Jews were leaders in opposing racism for a century before that.

    Part of the problem is that the LDS church thinks its leaders are all-wise, and the untermenschen of the LDS church are all stupid and not worth listening to.

  27. “If Mormonism becomes liberal and progressive, won’t it decline even more?…


    When hell freezes over.

    When scientists discover Kolob.

    When ben in Oakland becomes a believer.

    When ben in Oakland becomes heterosexual.

  28. God’s word never changes. Except when it does.

    That’s why you have a prophet to explain god’s word, though the word appears to be “convenient”.

  29. “The LDS Church doesn’t have a big enfluence in US life and less and less even in Utah and Idaho.”

    That’s not what a lot of more liberal posters at the SLC Tribune think. and certainly, as a gay man, I would differ with that opinion.

  30. It’s a 2 point statement. I don’t see much influence by Mormons in the US at large.

    When the mayor of SLC and 3 elected city council members are gay & lesbian, it seems that the LDS enfluence in the capitol city has deminished. YMMV.

  31. That I would agree with. But we both know that SLC isn’t really Utah.

  32. SLC is a cosmopolitan city because it is a business hub. Businesses know antigay hatred is bad for business.

  33. If the LDS can’t get rid of its male supremacy, it’ll just another hub of “incels” (involuntary celibate males) because modern women aren’t buying the “Kinder, Kuche, Kirche” bull hockey they sell.

  34. Mormons will be a major proponent of gay marriage in less than 10 years. The reason: gays have money.

  35. I believe the future of the LDS church lies not in protecting it’s esoteric and peculiar history and doctrine, but in it’s evolution toward a more Christ based focus. Early Mormon beliefs were more a product of the time and culture, many were holdovers from the Great Awakenings in America, and are not as relevant today. You can see this shift through the years (Blacks and the Priesthood, Caffeine, Polygamy, etc.), protecting the dogma has only hurt the church, not helped it. For any church to ultimately succeed, it must embrace the plain and simple truths taught by the Savior himself, and those are universal, not proprietary. Love your neighbor, serve one another, care for the poor and needy, visit the widows and the fatherless… I do believe the brethren in Salt Lake get this and are now working to re-position the church from its exclusive, restrictive past to a tolerant, inclusive and love-based organization, more truly representative of Jesus Christ.

  36. What sets my teeth on edge is that the “brethren” never qualify their grand authoritative announcements at the outset. Only after having to eat their words in some fashion do they acknowledge they might not have been inspired. Meanwhile, us grunts in the trenches were striving valiantly to give voice and effect to things later disavowed. In other words, they knowingly allow us to engage in hero worship and convey their teachings as doctrine when they also know that isn’t necessarily the case. As a lawyer I have to constantly qualify my statements and my conversations don’t have near the cosmic implications that religious pronouncements do.

  37. “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” – Acts 8:20.

  38. A ‘church’ does not change doctrine like the Mormon organization does. Mormonism is not a church. My prediction is that Mormons will embrace gays and gay marriage within 10 years. The underlying reason — gays have money.

  39. Because it explains the origins of your organization and how it is based on Islam. If you feel totally confident in your religion you will have no problem watching it.

  40. Very well could be an extra 5 years — we all know it’s coming because their ‘doctrine’ changes with the wind and public opinion and nothing to do with their god.

  41. So, in other words, let’s give up belief in revelation and conduct more marketing research.

  42. Every church changes doctrine. Otherwise it dies as society continues to evolve.

  43. Revelation usually comes after public opinions shift.

    For example, the most recent changes to the temple ceremony came after (marketing) research done by the church into members reactions and attitudes to the then existing temple ceremony.

  44. Policies and practices do change over time. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, as restored by Joseph Smith and carried on by Brigham Young and the rest was never meant to not represent Jesus Christ. Perhaps that is how you perceive the history, but every modern day prophet always put love, service, obedience to the Lord first.
    All prophets do, since Adam.

  45. Well written. Demographically and socially science-focused, but very interesting.
    I am currently writing a post on my blog as to how people are less active in the LDS faith, which more or less applies to all faiths or movements.
    I am encouraged that there are places in the world where the growth rate is much higher than one percent.
    Growing or not, the Church has the same mandate and prophecies to fulfill, for those that understand the scriptures and believe the words of the Brethren (and Sisters, who wield a lot of authority, too).

  46. The text at the link is not a bad start, (and thank you for providing it), but it is understandably incomplete.

    I would like to see the church address a few issues more fully:

    1. how can it be that these leaders, presumably “inspired by god”, could make such blunders?

    How could it be that NO ONE IN THE CHURCH (apparently) called them out for their blunders and misunderstandings of god’s wishes?

    2. “Mr. Prophet, if past leaders and top men of the church were wrong about race matters, maybe they’re wrong today about matters related to sex, transgenderism, and so on?”

    3. I’d like to see more candor about other church leaders who were OPENLY racist, e.g. ET Benson, Petersen, J. Reuben Clark, , Bruce McConkie, et al.

    4. Best of all, I’d sure like to see a flat-out statement of APOLOGY and “we’ll try to do better in the future” and so on. But I won’t hold my breath.

  47. Thank you for your thoughts Ed. I wish I could say I feel the same but the historical record shows conflict. Not that Christ and His doctrines weren’t taught, the problem lies in everything else that has come in tow. To me, the simplest way to explain it is this: Can you say without hesitation that you are a Christian first and a Mormon second? If you feel some anxiety in doing so my point is evident.

  48. Yes, I am Christian first, because that is the type of Mormon I am. The only anxiety that gives me is when maybe a Muslim extremist has a gun pointed at me, or the secular extremist mocks me for not drinking or sleeping around.
    Being LDS in all its doctrine means that we believe we take upon the name of Christ almost every week, spiritually and literally.
    I invite you to attend a sacrament meeting. That is part of why it pains LDS to hear people taking His name in vain so much. His name is our name! We belong to Him and He belongs to us!
    I don’t even like to utter “gosh”, it is too close for my comfort.
    We worship God the Father and His Son.
    We believe the Book of Mormon is the most perfect book defining the reality of Jesus. We cannot believe in it and not be Christian.
    I am an American and a human.
    I am a Mormon and a Christian.
    Do the two rule each other out?
    On the contrary, being one should make the other stronger.
    I feel like it does for me.

  49. I do feel totally confident in my God and His restored Church, and, no, I will not watch your video. Good day.

  50. Surveys are not necessarily marketing research and they were probably prompted by inspiration to begin with. Either way, temple ceremonies are a far cry from fundamental doctrines and principles. The church would cease to exist if it embraced same-sex marriage.

  51. Of course it’s marketing research. They polled their customers and made modifications to their product accordingly.

  52. The church would cease to exist if it embraced same-sex marriage.

    I heard the same before the priesthood revelation.

  53. temple ceremonies are a far cry from fundamental doctrines and principles.

    So eternal marriage, the endowment, baptism for the dead — AREN’T fundamental doctrines or principles?

  54. “i am a Mormon and a Christian. Do the two rule each other out?”
    Yes, they do. Mormons of course may define their religion any way they want, and may certainly behave in a Christian manner, but they are not considered to be a Christian religion due to the differences in theology.

    There are too many theological differences to list here, but one significant aspect concerns the Christian sacrament of baptism. It is not considered valid by the Mormon church, and Christians who convert to Mormonism are required to be re-baptized. A covenant made with God by Christian baptism should be acceptable to a Christian, and yet, in the Mormon religion, Christian baptisms are neither recognized nor accepted as valid. Likewise, Mormon baptisms are not recognized as Christian due to the differences in theology rendering the Mormon baptism invalid.

    Your description of what it means to be Christian is a description of your behavior, using non-standard definitions of The Father and The Son. In that casual sense, Mormons defining themselves as Christian is not an issue, as long as it is recognized that Mormons do not have what is recognized as a Christian theology.

  55. Being Mormon and Christian do not rule each other out, like Catholic and Christian do not, as eastern Orthodox and Christian do not, as Methodist and Christian do not, and Assembly of God and Christianity do not rule each other out.

    Just because each Christian faith does not accept each other’s baptisms as valid or the correct authority of God to do so does not stop any one of them from being Christian. All of them, even Jehovah’s Witnesses, believe in Christ. They (JWs) are the outlier, in my opinion. Mormons believe much differently than they do, sure. I’ll let them worry about their Christianity. If they say that they are, they are.

    Just because Latter-day Saints posit that Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father, is a separate being and has a resurrected body of flesh and bone as God, radically different from most of traditional Christianity, does not make The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints not “Christian”.

    I have known so-called non-denominational Christians claim that Catholics are not Christians!


    The umbrella of Christianity is large, and whether you agree or not, the Church with his name (first in the modern age) and bearing a Second Testament to Jesus Christ (Book of Mormon) is unmistakably Christian.

    We take the sacrament, we LDS take His name upon us, we preach everything (and more) that He ever pronounced. We believe His words. We try to follow His commandments and emulate Him.

    The narrow interpretation of being Christian that you espouse is like saying only American Indians are American.

    Nope. People born in the US are Americans (usually) and people who believe in and worship Jesus Christ are, in fact, Christians.

    Different, yes. Christian, yes.

  56. I used to think this, but now I no longer do. Unlike the 1970s, any recent pronouncements church leaders have made recently on LGBT topics are so numerous and easily accessible that it’s virtually impossible for the brethren to send them all down the memory hole. I believe a big part of the reason for the church’s recent real estate investments is so that they can ride out a downturn in tithing receipts and go forward as a smaller and more fundamental body. Of course, money is only part of the equation and not having enough bodies to staff local units could become a big problem. But in the short term, it seems that the brethren are okay with consolidating wards and stakes as long as they can continue to appeal to the most vocally conservative elements.

  57. “You strain at gnat and swallow a camel.”

    One single procedure in a temple ceremony is a gnat. It is not the same thing as the doctrine that it represents. Same-sex marriage is a camel.

  58. If you can’t distinguish between the priesthood revelation and same-sex marriage, there isn’t much more to be said.

  59. Your cynicism has no foundation in reality.

  60. The priesthood revelation: For over 100 years the church taught that black folk couldn’t hold the priesthood or receive temple ordinances. This was proclaimed by prophets and apostles as doctrine and “the word of the lord.” These prophets and apostles also declared this to be an eternal principle based on the intrinsic value (lack of value?) in black souls since the preexistence. One authority declared the black race existed so that Satan could have representatives on Earth.

    Then in the 1970s two things happened around the same time. First, Bob Jones University lost it’s tax exempt status for it’s (“Christian based”) racist policies and BYU was rumored to be next on the IRS’ list. Second, the church built a temple in Brazil without doing proper market research.

    The church was having success converting “Lamanites” in Brazil and elsewhere in South America. The Brazilian temple would bring the blessings of the temple to continent. It wasn’t until the temple was well underway and the church was beginning to try to staff it that they realized they had a problem. The Lamanites in Brazil had interbred with blacks to the point they could not be separated. The church’s ‘one drop’ policy forbade people with one drop of black blood from ever receiving the priesthood or entering the temple. But the Brazilian temple was key to the church’s growth in South America and President Kimball’s personal Lamanite project in which he saw them whitening up right before his eyes(!).

    In the midst of these (and more) controversies the revelation on blacks and priesthood was received and overturned God’s eternal doctrine that blacks could never, would never receive the priesthood.

    The position on LGBT+ folk: The prophets and apostles have spoken out against LGBT+ rights and people. Like the priesthood ban, this is an eternal principle based on a few, poorly understood passages in scripture. Apostles have called LGBT+ folk and their supporters “servants of Satan” and such (just like black folk used to be!).

    One of the oft repeated talking points by prophets and apostles in the 90s and early 00s was that homosexuality is a choice. Even saying that Heavenly Father would never make people that way. They’ve dropped that line since it’s been found that yes, LBGT+ people are in fact born that way. Funny how God never clued the prophets and apostles in on that little fact.

    Just as in the racist policies of the past, the church follows the religious right in America on LGBT+ rights.

    And so I hear now concerning LGBT+ policy the same rhetoric I heard in the 70s conceding racial policy. “The word of the lord.” “Eternal principle.” “Eternal doctrine.” “The church will never change on this.”

    You say I “can’t distinguish between the priesthood revelation and same-sex marriage.” Perhaps that’s because I see history repeating itself.

  61. This wasn’t a comparison of removing some of the more outdated and uncomfortable bits of the temple ceremony and marriage.

    It was about the market research the church does prior to receiving the necessary revelation to bring policy in line with members’ expectations and comfort levels.

  62. Then why poll members’ opinions of the temple ceremony? Why not just make changes based on revelation?

    Perhaps it’s because revelation is best received by the members when it aligns with their opinions? Perhaps it’s easier to receive revelation once you have the numbers in front of you and can see where the members want to go?

  63. The policy of denying baptism to children raised by same-sex parents until they reach adulthood makes it fairly clear that the two are not the same.

    Your arguments seem to imply that the church is both false and inspired at the same time. You will never find peace with this line of reasoning. You are seeking validation for things that simply cannot be. If the church is as base and worldly as you see it, why make any argument at all? Why do you care so much? If you know it to be true, why fight it?

    Splitting hairs about ancient scripture will not bring about the changes you are hoping for. We all have burdens to carry in this life. The best we can do is to carry them with dignity and endure well to the end. This is the only source of hope that I know.

  64. When you read the church’s gospel essay on Race and the Priesthood ( https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood ), it becomes clear that the church wants to pin its racist past on the society the church found itself in. The “everybody was doing it” defense.

    The essay works around the issue without ever tackling it head on. In fact it deflects and obfuscates at every turn.

    Race and the Priesthood :
    Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.

    It will present some of these “theories,” but never states that they were taught by prophets and apostles as doctrine. They aren’t doctrine today, but they were doctrine up until 1978.

    Reading between the lines of the essay and at the statements and sermons of previous church leaders we can learn from the church’s history of racism.

    1 – Racist prophets and apostles could and did enact their racist views as official doctrine of the church and as the mind and will of the lord.

    2 – The structure and culture of the church is such that it perpetuated these racist views and practices of the church.

    3 – The church followed the wider culture of the United States by at least a decade when it received the revelation on the priesthood. Even though one would expect an organization with prophets, seers, and revelators to lead rather than to follow.

    So, how does all this relate to the church’s positions on LGBT+ people, both in and out of the church?

    1 – We see older, bigoted leaders proclaiming the mind and will of the lord concerning LGBT+ persons.

    2 – We see many of their pronouncements fail as scientific research dispels old, tired myths.

    3 – We see the leaders’ talking points following (not leading) the wider culture of the religious right in America.

    Following the revelation on the priesthood the church failed to give its members a way to tell true doctrine of God from racist pronouncements of prophets. We get the tired line that sometimes prophets speak as men and sometimes as prophets. But the racist prophets clearly spoke as prophets when pronouncing racist doctrine and policy. So, how can we tell when prophets speak as bigots or prophets? The church has offered no guidelines.

    Revelations to church leaders tend to follow a decade or more behind public opinion. I see no reason to doubt that some future prophet will receive new light and understanding concerning our LGBT+ brothers and sisters.

  65. Joseph K.:
    The policy of denying baptism to children raised by same-sex parents until they reach adulthood makes it fairly clear that the two are not the same.

    First, it’s interesting to note that this policy is based on a similar policy concerning children of polygamist parents. Polygamy, of course, being another example where the revelation ending it was received after considerable pressure from the culture at large (i.e., a requirement for obtaining statehood).

    Second, evolution of this policy is well documented in the news media at the time. As public opinion swelled on the topic, the statements by the church grew incrementally from it just being policy to it being a revelation from God. All in just a few weeks. It was fascinating to watch.

  66. Joseph K.:
    why make any argument at all? Why do you care so much?

    Were the church to keep its doctrines and opinions within the church, I would have little to nothing to say on the matter.

    But the church has spent decades trying to enforce its opinions on others by force of law.

    Who were among the first to Utah’s courthouses after Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was overturned? The clergy. Leaders of various faith groups that support and shepherd the LGBT+ community.

    What is one of the founding principles of the church?

    Articles of Faith:
    11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

    And yet the church spent decades, millions of dollars, and millions of man hours to deny their fellow Americans their civil liberties — in violation of their own doctrine and touted beliefs.

    The church continues to lobby for its “religious freedom” at the cost of the religious freedom of others.

    I find these actions to be un-American and un-Christian.

  67. There is also a proclamation on the family. There never was a proclamation on race.

  68. Joseph K.:
    We all have burdens to carry in this life.

    One’s sexuality is neither sin nor burden.

    When I was young, the righteous pointed to homosexuals having many partners over their lifetime as proof of their depraved nature.

    Decades later, when they wanted to settled down, get married, raise families and live happily ever after, the righteous became enraged over redefining marriage.

    And of course, now they’ve moved on to the hue and cry of religious liberty! Religious liberty, of course, being defined as the right to deny others their rights in the public square.

  69. There were many proclamations on race. Including some in The Book of Moses and The Book of Abraham. And all the pronouncements of prophets and apostles speaking in the name of God. Even a couple of official statements by various first presidencies.

    But you are right, the proclamation is unique. Go into most any Mormon home and there it is — framed and hung prominently beside a portrait of Jesus. An modern idol, for the modern bigot, equal (at least) to Christ.

    A racist for God remains a racist in and of himself.

    A bigot for God remains a bigot in an of himself. Hiding behind a god made in the bigot’s image changes nothing.

  70. In summary, the correct response from the church — back when all this started — should have been something like:

    We support our brothers and sisters seeking marriage equality in the face of the law, as we support the civil liberties of all Americans.

    We will continue to teach the Lord’s will concerning homosexuality. And no same sex unions will be performed in our temples or houses of worship. But we support those who seek such unions and wish them and their families well.

    This would have been true to church teachings — concerning both homosexuality and allowing others their agency.

    Instead, the church chose to act like a Republican PAC, spending time and resources to deny rights to their neighbors.

    It chose to be judgmental instead of nurturing. Controlling instead of inviting. Political instead of Christlike.

  71. You cannot dismiss people as bigots simply because they don’t agree with same-sex marriage. That is rather bigoted in and of itself.

  72. Millions of people organizing to uphold their values is usually called “democracy.” We may not like the outcome but we still have to respect it and each other. Now the outcome has changed and same-sex marriage is legal in the U.S. I don’t see the church denigrating the LGBT community because of their victory.

  73. I think of people who don’t agree with same-sex marriage simply as people who disagree with me. Perhaps a bit backward and primitive. Hangers on to old myths and superstition.

    I reserve the B word for people who would deny civil liberties to other Americans based on that backwards thinking.

  74. I would add, no matter how much I disagree with anyone, I would never campaign or vote to take away their rights or prevent them from being treated equally by society.

    This is the one thing I really have against the LDS church.

    They fought against civil rights.
    They fought against interracial marriage.
    They fought against the Equal Rights Amendment.
    They fought against marriage equality.
    They continue to fight for the ‘right’ to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.

    At every turn, the LDS church is against treating people fairly and with dignity. And yes, I call that bigotry. Bigotry, racism, and sexism.

  75. Millions of people organizing to withhold civil rights from others is usually called “bigotry.” So, that’s what I call it.

    The church continues to fight for the ‘right’ to discriminate against these people in the public square.

    It’s reprehensible. It’s bigoted. And it needs to be called out as often as it rears it’s ugly head. So I do.

  76. You are talking about a “right” that did not exist until it was created for the first time ever in human history.

    Today, no one is fighting to take anything away from anyone. But when you use the word “bigot” as a bludgeon, you can expect people to become defensive.

  77. Those are very broad, sweeping statements – the language of bigotry.

  78. It is patently absurd for any Christians who belong to the most splintered religion in the world to act as though there is a true orthodoxy that has the right to exclude others. Protestants and Catholics can’t war against each other and then turn around and say that Mormons aren’t Christians. It’s the height of hypocrisy.

  79. You are talking about a “right” that did not exist until it was created for the first time ever in human history.

    Wow. We’ve spent decades debating this issue and you never once chose to educate yourself on the subject. That’s . . . pathetic.

    Homosexuals have been around since before there were humans. And for all our history they’ve been pairing up in various ways in various cultures. There are even some historians that find homosexual unions performed for centuries by both the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches.

    The fact that we are just now coming out from under the sexual repression imposed on America by its Puritan founders does not in any way make this “the first time ever in human history.”

    If you would like to expand your horizons a bit, on the subject, I suggest starting with the wikipedia article:

    History of same-sex unions

    If you’d like to learn more after that, follow the links for endless insight.

  80. Today, no one is fighting to take anything away from anyone.

    Okay. I’ll mark the last one as ignorance. But are you really that unaware of the current “religious freedom” agenda?

    Lawmakers in cities, states, and even at the federal level are actively pushing legislation to make it legal to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people on religious grounds.

    Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any supported by the LDS church. However they do have a web page devoted to “religious freedom” that uses all the same buzz words and phrases as others in this movement. The church has submitted briefs in (all?) cases adjudicating the matter.

    This was tried during and after the civil rights movement — people and businesses wanted to discriminate against blacks on religious grounds — and was shot down. Repeating the same arguments today makes them no better than before.

  81. But when you use the word “bigot” as a bludgeon, you can expect people to become defensive.

    But from rational people, I’d hope for introspection.

    Consider the definition:

    bigot | ˈbiɡət |

    a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.

    Trying to deny people their rights is intolerant. Making those who do so bigots.

    Again, I have many different options than my Mormon friends and family. But I would never support legislation denying them the right to marry, or assemble, or do business, or anything. Ever. I simply can’t imagine being that bigoted.

  82. And we return to what ‘bigotry’ is.

    bigotry | ˈbiɡətrē |

    intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.

    Yes I have very strong opinions that differ from yours and the LDS church. But never once have I express intolerance toward you (or they) holding them.

    On the contrary, I think I tolerate your opinions quite well. I haven’t blocked you, false flagged you, or even ignored you. I have tried to respond openly and honestly to your posts.

    tolerate | ˈtäləˌrāt |
    verb [with object]

    allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.

    Sorry. I’ve shown no intolerance. Without intolerance, there is no bigotry.

  83. That’s quite a stretch. Essentially, guilt by association. The church’s primary interest is to safeguard it’s ecclesiastical integrity. When the county clerk (recorder?) in Kentucky refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Elder Oaks made a statement that those who are elected to execute the law should uphold the law. You are not going to hear that from all the other religious groups that you are referring to.

  84. You have not interfered. Correct. I believe that is the basic standard of civility. Hurling epithets at a people you disagree with is hardly tolerant. Especially, when there is ample evidence that the beliefs and practices you disagree with are not founded on hatred toward the LGBT community. Being against same-sex marriage does not make one homophobic regardless of how you choose to frame the issue. It’s a broad oversimplification designed to vilify the church and its members and it is intolerant.

  85. We can argue at length about the breadth of human history, but suffice it to say that there is no basis for same-sex marriage in the social and cultural foundation of the present day society we live in. That is why your comparisons to the civil rights movement is a false equivalent. Same-sex marriage represented a fundamental reorganization of societal norms and values. Far beyond anything that occurred as a result of the civil rights movement. If one segment of our society disagreed with that reorganization and voted against it, it does not make that population extremist or intolerant. Especially since the vote was cast in favor of existing norms and practices and not against a particular population. That is one fundamental difference between us. We talk about an institution while your invective is directed in broad, sweeping generalizations toward a people. The LDS Church does not vilify the LGBT community or invoke hatred against it. Your very definition of the word bigoted fails to apply for this very reason.

    It is very clever, of course, to frame one’s personal belief in something as a form of opposition to something else, but the false perception of animus you create is a lie. No LDS person hates LGBT individuals and I think you know that quite well. To condemn everyone who opposed same-sex marriage as bigoted and homophobic without making any allowance for the possibility that individuals were simply acting in accordance with their conscience is the very definition of intolerance.

  86. Nobody was intolerant toward your opinion. They simply voted in favor of their own. That’s not bigotry. They voted. You voted. They did not prevent you from voting. They did not prevent you from expressing your views. The vote was on the definition of marriage. They held one view. You held another. It was not about you. It was about marriage. As a rational, introspective person, I think you know that. In the end they accepted the majority’s view and you called them bigoted. Why, because you hate them. We don’t hate you. We never will. You wish we did, you tell others we do, but we don’t. We never will. I’m sorry you hate us.

  87. Hey, Joe! How ya been?

    Thanks for the info on Oaks. I was unaware this statement. Good for him.

  88. Hurling epithets …

    Racists hate being told they’re racist, but they can’t change unless they are called on it. That goes for bigots as well.

    … there is ample evidence that the beliefs and practices you disagree with are not founded on hatred toward the LGBT community.

    I’ve seen none of this ample evidence. And you haven’t provided any.

    If I started a campaign proclaiming that Mormons and their allies are ‘agents of Satan’ and whipped the country up to vote away your civil rights — say freedom of association (say, more particularly to marry) would you conclude that we just had differing opinions? or that I was coming from a position of hate?

    Being against same-sex marriage does not make one homophobic …

    Being against something is very different from actively denying someone their rights. Hating everything the Mormon church stands for would never lead me to deny them their rights. See the difference.

    So, yes. Denying LGBT+ people their rights is homophobic. And bigoted.

    It’s a broad oversimplification designed to vilify the church and its members and it is intolerant.

    tolerance | ˈtäl(ə)rəns |

    the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

    – Church opposed Civil Rights
    – Church opposed interracial marriage
    – Church opposed equal rights for women
    – Church opposed marriage equality

    Yep. There the church is tolerating behavior they disagree with.

    Sorry, the church and most of the members I’ve met are intolerant (and bigoted). You are proving to be no different.

  89. Before:

    You are talking about a “right” that did not exist until it was created for the first time ever in human history.


    We can argue at length about the breadth of human history, but suffice it to say that there is no basis for same-sex marriage in the social and cultural foundation of the present day society we live in.

    And the award for most yards gained by moving the goalpost goes to . . .

    Your second statement above (about the present day society) is very weasely. If you’d said it at the start of the 1800s you would be defending slavery, child labor, denying property rights and the right to inherit to women, restricting the right to vote to white, male, landowners, etc.

    Say it 100 years before that and you’d be defending the King and state religion.

    Today is better than ever before in human history. But we ain’t perfect yet. And the only way to improve is through progress. Even if some think that’s a dirty word.

    Same-sex marriage represented a fundamental reorganization of societal norms and values.

    No. It didn’t. Has your life fundamentally changed since marriage equality became law? Or even a little? My heterosexual life and marriage has proceeded quite unaltered by this ‘sea change.’

    And you seem to marginalize civil rights. Black people used to be routinely found swinging from trees back in the day that white people felt it was their right to kill uppity coloreds. Of course, LGBT+ citizens have suffered their own violence toward them.

    Especially since the vote was cast in favor of existing norms and practices and not against a particular population.

    I’ve voting to keep slavery not against a particular population. Social norms and all that.

    The LDS Church does not vilify the LGBT community or invoke hatred against it. Your very definition of the word bigoted fails to apply for this very reason.

    My definition of bigotry was taken unedited from my computer’s dictionary. And never mentions hatred.

    bigotry | ˈbiɡətrē |

    intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself

    If one tolerates something, one disagrees but doesn’t interfere. I might tolerate the noise of a party next door. Or chose to be intolerant and call the cops.

    The church chose not to be tolerant of marriage equality. It chose to interfere. The church (and most of its members) are intolerant. Thus bigoted against those not like themselves.

    No LDS person hates LGBT individuals and I think you know that quite well.

    My 30+ year marriage to my college sweetheart is the most amazing thing ever to happen in my life. A rollercoaster ride of emotional ups and downs — but mostly ups. Passion, tenderness, love, forgiveness, kindness, and understanding.

    I can’t imagine hating anyone so much as to deny them that opportunity.

    I understand you don’t like to admit it even to yourself. Homophobia comes from fear of something different. And fear leads to hate. And hate leads to people being bigots.

    To condemn everyone who opposed same-sex marriage as bigoted and homophobic …

    Nope. Not everyone with that opinion. Just those that actively seek do deny others’ their rights.

    … without making any allowance for the possibility that individuals were simply acting in accordance with their conscience is the very definition of intolerance.

    Nope. Denying your freedom to speak your options would be intolerant. Denying your ability to meet and worship together would be intolerant. Denying your right to marry who you choose would be intolerant.

    Calling out your bigotry and intolerance is in no way intolerant.

  90. I do hate Mormonism and all right wing religions.

    But I’d never vote to deny you your rights.

    Are you beginning to see the difference.

  91. This shouldn’t have to be pointed out. But your comments suggest it does.

    We are not talking about voting on whether or not to allow alcohol sales on Sundays.

    We are talking about basic human rights. Traditionally, we don’t vote on those in America. They are granted by the Constitution or the courts. (Yes, there are exceptions.)

    The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly and constantly (at least 17 times, 18 times now) that marriage is a fundamental right.

    In the case of Prop 8 in California, marriage equality was the law and Prop 8 took that right away. I can’t think of another time in America where, once recognized, basic civil rights were taken away from anyone.

  92. Simply because I don’t have the time to debate 5,000 years of human history and prefer to focus on the society and culture we are most familiar with doesn’t mean that I’m moving the goal post. Taking advantage of that fact to take a cheap shot at a personal level is something beyond weasely.

    Everything you say is founded on the idea that same-sex marriage was not a societal change, just an administrative or legal adjustment. In my view it was a societal change and like any such change it has repercussions. I can accept that you disagree on that point. But I don’t accept your moral condemnation. Everything for you is a social construct, but societies are not the mere product of a judicial ruling. Either way, you use the weight of society when it suits you, and toss it out when it doesn’t. In other words – society can be wrong, but not this time because society says so. OK – we could talk about what all this means but you are more interested in making categorical statements and blanket condemnations. That does not denote moral superiority, just blind hatred. It does not make you more humane, just incapable of recognizing the humanity of others.

  93. That’s absolutely not true. God was the same yesterday as he is today and will be tomorrow. The Bible doesn’t change policy therefore my church doesn’t change.

  94. People are leaving because they finally have access to all the historical information about who Joseph Smith was and how he started the church and it doesn’t add up. The church came out with a book called “Rough stone rolling” which details what kind of a person Joseph Smith was. He copied parts of the Bible and also a book from that time that was about pirates. He was sleeping with fourteen year old girls and when he was caught he said he received revelation about polygamy. Compare the vision Paul had to the “vision” Joseph Smith had, Paul’s vision didn’t benefit him and it pointed everything back to Christ, conveniently Joseph Smith’s vision benefited him greatly. I could go on and on and on about this things just don’t add up. Please look into the history of your church through a lens of history before you place your eternity in it. If you research the historical accuracy of the Bible you will find that it was translated correctly and even LDS historians have said that it was 99% accurate.

  95. Do you live the Law of Moses?
    If not, your religion, church, and god’s opinion HAVE changed.

    Do you allow women to speak in church?
    If so, your religion, church, and god’s opinion HAVE changed.

    We could do this all day.

  96. The law of Moses was fulfilled by the coming of Christ. It was prophesied all through the Old Testament. Women don’t hold positions in my church, so yes we could do this all day.

  97. You say the law of Moses was “fulfilled.” Jesus disagrees.

    18 For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:18-19)

    Basically, the Law will not be ‘fulfilled’ until after heaven and earth pass away. You can get to heaven if you break the least commandment in the Law of Moses — but you will be least in heaven. If you want to be great in heaven, you have to follow the Law of Moses.

    Yes, Paul contradicts Jesus on this. But who do you follow? Christ or Paul?

    And there’s another example of the religion, the church and God’s opinion changing: The transition from the gospel of Christ to the gospel of Paul.

  98. The gospel of Paul?
    What do you even believe in? You are all over the place.

  99. Jesus doesn’t disagree he says it in the verse before that. Matthew 5:17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them

  100. Yes. Then in the same paragraph, in the very next verse, Jesus tells us when he will fulfill the Law:

    18 For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

    Nothing will disappear from the Law until heaven and earth pass away. Not at his coming in the flesh. Not at his second coming. The Law will be fulfilled at the end of time and not before.

  101. Mormons are becoming more liberal. No two ways around it. if you look at the likes of Jeff Flake, Jon Huntsman, Harry Reid, Tom Udall, Mitt Romney, and Mia Love, it isn’t exactly the Ezra Benson crowd anymore. The LDS are making a left turn.

  102. Six months later, your remarks are just as far off the mark. Mormons and Evangelicals both miss the mark of “Following Christ” in their mutual racism, sexism and homophobia. All forms of Christianity that picked up bad habits in the Victorian Era and have clung to them wander in a self-made wilderness that has lasted many times longer than the 40 years that ancient Israel wandered in the wilderness.

  103. “From a statistical point of view we cannot deny that these forces (socialism) can have a positive influence on receptivity to the gospel… the people with socialist backgrounds are not only more numerous in the Church than in the whole population but in a comparison of the average time a convert needs to become baptized after the initial contact… It becomes difficult therefore to ignore the meaning of socialism or similar ideological trends in an international Mormon perspective… Socialism has different political connotations in Western Europe or Latin America than in the United States. It does credit to our inspired Church authorities that they realize these differences and take them into account.”

    -From “Mormonism in a European Catholic Region: A Contribution to the Social Psychology of LDS Converts,” by Wilfred Decoo, BYU Studies Quarterly, Volume 24, Issue 1.

  104. The Church has lacked a Christ-centered focus? On what planet?

  105. Jana, data can only ‘suggest.’ That is something that secularist religious studies will never admit, because it reduces their pulpit. It is why I am not into scholar-worship.

  106. Please don’t twist my words. Although the Church is obviously centered around Christ, it has let too many other, founding, cultural, esoteric ideas lead out. I am glad to see President Nelson directing us to jettison our ‘Mormon’ nickname as the Church tries to put more focus on Christ. Blacks and the Priesthood was another course correction that moved the Church forward. There will be others. The brethren understand that to survive into the next century, we need to become more Christian and less Mormon.

  107. I think the Brethren ‘understand’ far more than you think they do.

  108. Your words don’t need twisting, they speak for themselves. I think the Faith has done marvelously well all along with its vehicles — words of called & ordained Special Witnesses in General Conference and Church Magazines, the CES, and it’s worldwide programs. I will suggest too that the only esotericism and non-Christianism I’ve seen has come from the secularist, Progressive movement in and around the Church. It’s been a long time since the September Six; I think it’s time that the Church define boundaries again.

Leave a Comment