Columns Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood Opinion

Don’t call Mormons “Mormons,” and do try the gospel at home: 9 key takeaways from General Conference

President Russell M. Nelson explains why the church's name is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Sunday morning session of the 188th semiannual general conference on Oct. 7, 2018, in Salt Lake City. ©2018 by Intellectual Reserve Inc. 

It was an exciting General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this weekend, with several major announcements as well as undercurrents of larger themes. Here are nine highlights.

  1. “Mormon” has become a four-letter word.

In the Sunday morning session, President Russell M. Nelson hammered hard on the name of the Church, urging members to stop using the nickname “Mormon” and stating the reason behind the recent campaign to use the full name of the Church.

It’s not a rebranding effort, he emphasized, nor is it a trivial matter. It’s the Lord’s will that the entire name be used, since it places focus on Jesus Christ. Nelson stated that “if we allow nicknames to be used and adopt or even sponsor those nicknames ourselves, he [the Lord] is offended.”

Nelson also noted that “responsible” members of the media would be quick to honor his request about the change. For my part, I should note that RNS has no immediate plans to deviate from the Associated Press stylebook we follow, which stipulates that the full name of any religious institution be used upon first reference, followed by shortened references thereafter (“the Roman Catholic Church” on first reference can be followed by “Catholic,” or “the African Methodist Episcopal Church” by “AME”). Here is the Religion News Association’s supplement to the AP stylebook regarding Mormonism. If the AP style should change I will be sure to blog about it and let you know.

  1. The president of the Church is not afraid to tip sacred cows.

What’s particularly interesting about Nelson’s focus on the name of the Church is that it was the Church itself that, beginning around 2010, that began a full-court-press rally around that very word “Mormon.” In endeavors like the successful “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign and the Meet the Mormons movie, the Church introduced a curious public to individual Mormon people, showcasing their faith and their contributions to the world.

Now President Nelson is not only moving in a different direction but saying that the old direction may have been a “major victory for Satan.” That’s a 180-degree turn the likes of which is almost unheard of in modern Mormonism, where change happens glacially and current church leaders simply don’t overturn the legacy of deceased ones.

What usually happens is that a teaching is de-emphasized while a new one gains momentum to take its place, but the old one is still “on the books,” sometimes for decades. For example, the manual for adults who are preparing for eternal marriage contains a 1976 quote from Spencer W. Kimball that discourages interracial marriage—a prohibition that has not been taught at the pulpit in Conference for decades. The quote seems to have been removed from the online version of the lesson, thank heavens, though it is still in the print version on page 169. I’m sure the print version will be updated next. This kind of quiet, unheralded updating is typical of the slow-moving LDS Church.

Nelson is doing something altogether different and decisive. He seems unafraid to say that the previous way of doing things was wrong—and it should be remembered that he would have been part of the decision making on the use of “Mormon” personally, as he’s been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve since the Reagan administration. He’s rebuking himself too here.

This raises the question: if a Mormon president is unafraid to boldly (and publicly) challenge a policy of previous church leaders, what other changes may be coming?

  1. Two-hour church will be a reality.

LDS Church members around the world whooped for joy on social media at the unexpected-but-expected announcement that Sunday meetings would be shortened to two hours from three, which is the schedule that’s been in place worldwide since 1980.

Elder Quentin Cook got to announce the news, and I can imagine that the jubilant reaction where I was watching Conference with friends was echoed in many other places throughout the Church. Also, I got to eat cake. You may remember that my skepticism about two-hour church was so entrenched that I promised to eat my hat — or at least a hat-shaped cake — if I was wrong. Glad to be wrong. The cake was delicious.

In all of the Twitter reactions I was monitoring, I didn’t see any that were negative, though many wondered how the change, which will be implemented in January, will affect Sunday meetings. Here’s an infographic the Church has provided:

The new meeting schedule for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which will begin in January 2019.

Cut from the new schedule: Primary “sharing time” (the 50 minutes of Primary will now be divided between singing time and class time), Gospel Principles classes for new members and investigators, and first Sunday “council meetings” in Relief Society and priesthood.

  1. Members’ faith should be home-centered and church-supported, rather than the other way around.

Several speakers seemed keen to reiterate that having one less hour of church on Sunday does not mean that Mormons get to simply hang out and chillax. Rather, they are to take the initiative in their families to study the gospel at home, aided by a new “Come, Follow Me” curriculum that will be given to all adult members by the end of the year. For next year, the focus will be on the New Testament.

The door also seems open for gospel study groups that aren’t just restricted to family, which would be a change. In the 1990s, Mormon leaders discouraged the formation of such groups, but given the growing number of single members and nontraditional families, they would fill a real need in terms of fellowship and spiritual growth.

  1. There were very few women speakers.

Many observers noticed that only one woman, President Bonnie Cordon of the Young Women, addressed the entire mixed audience over the course of the weekend. This is in contrast to 26 talks given by male leaders during the daytime general sessions.

Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, conducts the general women’s session of general conference on Oct. 6, 2018. ©2018 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

In the Saturday evening women’s session—included as a session of General Conference during Conference weekend for the first time—three women spoke, and three men. I believe it is the first time that all three members of the First Presidency have spoken in the women’s meeting, which some conservative Mormons would see as an honor for women and some liberal Mormons would view as a hostile takeover of what used to be primarily female space.

It didn’t help matters that the male leaders’ talks were very much about defining for women what their roles should be—marriage and motherhood being paramount—while the women’s talks were more far-reaching, focusing on women’s spiritual development and the many ways they can serve others.

  1. President Oaks issued hard-hitting words about traditional marriage and transgender issues.

Pres. Dallin Oaks’s Saturday talk proved controversial in its firm denunciation of same-sex marriage, a topic avoided by most other speakers. “Under the great plan of our loving Creator, the mission of His restored church is to help the children of God achieve the supernal blessing of exaltation in the celestial kingdom, which can only be attained through an eternal marriage between a man and a woman,” he said.

Oaks, who as the most senior apostle is next in line to be the LDS prophet, also reiterated the teaching in the 1995 document “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” that gender is an eternal characteristic of human beings. He warned that no society should “make changes that confuse or alter gender or homogenize the differences between men and women.” He indicated that opposition to the teaching that gender is eternal and unchangeable is Satanically generated.

Interestingly, in his point about how church members need to oppose abortion and uphold the sanctity of life, he also mentioned opposing euthanasia. The Church has an official policy opposing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (see here), but it’s not something you often hear mentioned in General Conference.

  1. There was an outpouring of love for Elder Ballard.

On Sunday, Elder M. Russell Ballard gave what many considered to be the most emotionally heartfelt talk of the conference, focusing on the redeeming work that Mormons do for the dead in temples.

It was personal and poignant for two reasons. First, Elder Ballard’s wife Barbara died just days ago at age 86, and he shared anecdotes and photos from their life together. The couple married in 1951 and had seven children. In his talk, Elder Ballard testified of his belief in eternal families, and his abiding love for his wife.

Second, it’s been almost exactly 100 years since the October 1918 revelation received by President Joseph F. Smith about how the dead will be redeemed through temple ordinances (a teaching that is canonized in Mormon scripture as D&C 138). Joseph F. knew about the loss of loved ones, having lost his father, the founding prophet’s brother Hyrum Smith, to assassination when he was a young child. And loss stalked Joseph F. as an adult as well, as he lost thirteen children (“O that I could have saved her,” he wrote after the death of his first child), two wives, and several siblings. The October 1918 revelation also occurred as World War I and the Spanish influenza had claimed millions of lives.

Joseph F. was Elder Ballard’s great-grandfather, linking the chain of church history in a tangible way to contemporary Saints.

  1. President Nelson called for a 10-day social media fast for women.

Although details are unclear, President Nelson called for the women of the Church to abstain from social media for 10 days to refocus their priorities on the Savior. He also asked them to read the Book of Mormon before the end of 2018, attend the temple regularly, and to be part of Relief Society.

The social media fast is similar to (but longer than) a charge given to the youth of the Church earlier this year.

  1.   Church members got glimpses of new apostles Soares and Gong.

Finally, Saturday conference talks from new apostles Ulisses Soares and Gerrit W. Gong gave church members a chance to get to know these leaders, who were ordained to the Quorum of the Twelve in April.

Elder Soares drew on a metaphor of rivers in his native South America blending together and becoming powerful to encourage Latter-day Saints who were born into the church to welcome new converts and allow their strength to make them mighty. And in my favorite talk of the conference, Elder Gong called upon members to stretch their creativity in engaging a life of faith.

About the author

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (Random House/Convergent, 2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church" (Oxford University Press, 2019). She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.

107 Comments

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  • I found the lack of female speakers a little surprising and disappointing. There seems to be a much greater emphasis on female pioneers and teachings of female leaders, and so I would have thought that there would have been more representation there. As for the entire first presidency speaking at the women’s session, I would expect more of that every October, as it would be in line with what Priesthood Session has included for many years. It would be nice to see female speakers being drawn from a larger pool, as the pool of speakers apparently goes as deep as second counselor in the general young men’s presidency (whom I have met and who is a great guy, but he’s not exactly sitting atop the hierarchy).

  • The social media fast for women is sooo needed globally in developed nations.

    Women seem to get tempted to communicate with past loves much easier than men do- I’ve seen this twice now with married women whereas married men in the church don’t really try to chat with their ex-partners, usually because they see no need for it as it’s a *total waste of time*.
    I have zero interest in talking with ex-girlfriends but I reckon if there was a survey taken on this subject where women in the church were compared with men in the church, the women would be far more open to catching up with old flames.

    It begins with just catching up then progresses to remembering old times whilst an online friendship forms. Then that online friend becomes someone the woman can turn to and depend upon, to share personal problems with about the difficulties she faces… and before she knows it she discovers that they had so much in common which is a welcome and even exciting distraction from the drudgery of homemaking.

    # Now watch as the gay marriage and porn loving satanists who frequent this forum, bravely defend the right of married women to get in contact with old boyfriends/loves. Idiots will clutch at anything to drag saints down.

  • I see a bizarre paranoia rampant in this smelly pile of crap you’ve written. You really have no respect or trust for the women of the Latter-day Saint church.

  • Jana, why doesn’t RNS do something about the foul mouthed troll, Dave Ruth, who has so many distasteful comments in your article about the Top 5 Rumors about Conference? I reported every one of his comments and not one disappeared.

  • Surely you write this as satire. If not, the word “unhinged” comes to mind. I, too, welcome the social media fast, but for a different reason, namely, so i don’t have to read the cray-cray believers writing nonsense about how “inspired” the so-called prophet is by removing an hour off Sunday meetings and stomping his foot about how to refer to the church. A question, Alex: If the Lord’s priesthood was designated as the “Melchizadek” priesthood to avoid the too frequent repetition of [Jesus’] name (D&C 107:4), how does Nelson’s insistence on Jesus’ name every time while referring to the Mormon church square with that? Seems to me Jesus’ name is going to be use a whole lot more if Nelson has his way than ever would have occurred in some esoteric discussion about the mythical Melchizadek. Just saying…

  • How does the emphasis on the Church’s complete name jive with calling the higher priesthood the Melchizekek Priestood? “Originally, the priesthood was known as the “Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God” (D&C 107:3).
    To avoid too frequent use of God’s name, the Church in ancient days
    called the priesthood by the name of this noted priesthood leader,
    Melchizedek (D&C 107:2-4)” “http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Melchizedek_Priesthood

  • There’s obviously a problem or the fast from social media wouldn’t have been recommended.

    I put it to you that the time-wasting distraction from homemaking isn’t the ultimate effect of social media addiction.

    Call it a hunch born of repeated warnings over the years for married women to avoid chatting to former loves on facebook.

    You say I “have no respect or trust” but tis the Lord who is no respecter of persons.

  • That is an interesting point- His priesthood doesn’t use His name but His church does.

    It doesn’t say anywhere in the scriptures that the priesthood has to be called a certain thing but the biblical references for Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day & Saints seems to be right there in scriptural text.

  • Calling me unhinged doesn’t add to your argument- if anything, it diminishes its worth.

    Hmm, I saw a female friend struggle with being over-burdened recently so I put in a word to the branch pres to get some of those discretionary funds spent on a light weight wheelchair — instead of an 80’s build steel thing– for her hubby so she can lift it into and out of the car more easily. Her husband hardly attends any more as he has bathroom issues and the longer he is at church, the more likely it is that he will need her help to go to the toilet.

    She wept when she confided to me about how awkward it is in our little service temples in Australia where there is no special needs changing room so she has to go into the men’s with him to assist him and the temple president totally has to block entrance to the men’s changing room while she is in there helping her husband.

    # Seems to me that lessening the load on Sundays will help many who struggle now. I know you don’t want to acknowledge that but you probably don’t have multiple sclerosis and you don’t lose control of your bowel functions either.

    You keep on being smug Danny and the Lord will bless you with some trials.

  • “# Now watch as the gay marriage and porn loving satanists who frequent this forum, bravely defend the right of married women to get in contact with old boyfriends/loves. Idiots will clutch at anything to drag saints down.”

    You’re right. “Unhinged” isn’t appropriate in this context. “Batsh*t crazy” works better. Thank you. Oh, and thank you for doing what so-called Lord’s disciples seem to do with frequency, and that is wish ill upon me because I don’t validate your point of view. I quite fancy myself as a heckler in some Monte Python movie, east-end accent and all. Yes, I like that. “Weeweeess Wobewt Wefowd!” Some of you will get that reference.

    You want the Lord to “bless” me with some trials. No doubt Jacob’s story of Sherem brings you comfort. You profess love, but in your heart resent those who think your views illogical, and wish upon them “trials” in retaliation. By implication, you worship a douchebag for a God who would do your dirty work for you. I mean, if we’re talking about the same God who manipulated Abraham to attempt a murder of his own son (Do you think Sarah ever left Abraham alone with Isaac after that?), then that God is a douche. Or the same God who told Nephi to kill Laban for the brass plates, told all the Nephite prophets to maintain other plates for generations, told Mormon to abridge all of those records, made Moroni run from the Lamanites with the plates for the rest of his life, go to all that effort and sacrifice only for it all to be unnecessary because, hey, Joseph Smith had his magic rock that gave him the whole story. Yep, a douche.

    Personally, if there truly is a God who has created the immeasurably vast universe of which Earth is in a backwater, I feel sure he isn’t concerned if somebody finds the evidence of his existence lacking. Were I “inspired” to change the New Testament as Smith claimed, I’d add another beattitude to Matthew 5, because surely he also meant to say, “Blessed are the credulous, …(not sure what their reward would be so I didn’t finish it.)

    I don’t wish anything ill upon you. I hope you find happiness at some point. The church doesn’t seem to be doing it for you. Meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy my Second Saturdays, smoke cigars, drink scotch, talk trash on the golf course, and mentally sigh in relief I’m no longer slogging it out in that self-contradictory wasteland called the Gospel, as taught by the Mormons, errr, even the only true and living church upon the face of the earth, errr, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

  • A few points:

    1. Gee, isn’t it curious how god told the church to stop using the name Mormon, only a few years after it re-emphasized that name!

    2. Why is the church so concerned about gay marriage and related issues? Call me stupid, but this strikes me as a very simple matter: don’t try to impose your views on civil society, and if you don’t approve of gay marriage, DON’T DO IT.

    The attempt to impose its own narrow views on everyone else shows us very clearly that the Mormon “church” has not learned from its experience since its founding: RESPECT OTHERS, and you improve the chances they will respect you.

    Gee, wasn’t there a famous historical figure who taught something like that?

  • Why would you find the lack of female speakers surprising? Hasn’t the church made clear that it thinks women have no brains, and belong only in the kitchen and the bedroom?

  • How can this be a particular problem for women if they’re communicating with men? Takes two to have an affair.

    Logic fail.

  • Although they keep emphasizing the need for female voices, they aren’t about to give them the opportunity to speak!

  • A recommendation does not mean that there is a problem! I haven’t seen the context of the request stated anywhere. I doubt that it was a tag at the end – PS, don’t do this. Perhaps the fast is to foster something. That’s usually why one fasts, to put oneself into a spiritual mode or situation.

    Not all LDS women are currently homemakers, there are plenty who are studying in colleges & universities around the world. There are single women who are working at careers to support themselves.

    I’m not aware of this FB warning that you appear to have imagined.

    Sadly, you’re too uneducated to understand the difference in the definition of respect that I used and that statement about Christ.

  • Curious? The Church has been pushing back on the use of “Mormon” for a long time. Consider a 2011 article that explains the search engine benefits of “Mormon” v. the concerns with the name. The discomfort is clear. https://www.deseretnews.com/article/700123737/LDS-or-Mormon-It-depends.html
    I can think of a number of times in the last 50 years where apostles/prophets took issue with the use of the term Mormon Church rather than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The fact that a theatrical play with the word “Mormon” in it was so big in recent years, and defamatory, certainly made the use of the term “Mormon” in public relations material seem a greater necessity, but hardly curious. More like obvious. No surprise that there is prophetic pushback, especially from a president who is emphasizing in his words a “more holy” way in a number of aspects, irrespective of the best SEO or PR. It is not that he doesn’t care about SEO or PR, he just cares less. He wants a more holy form of ministering, more holy gospel study with greater personal and family responsibility, and so forth. He wants Church members not just to head more-or-less north, so to speak, but specifically for the North Star. More exact, more direct, more clear than before. Accepting he is a prophet, Jesus Christ cares about the name of His Church, and the replacement of that name, and He is supposed to be the specific guiding star, not some other star with some other name that is more or less north.

    As far as narrow views, you are free to believe whatever you like. You can believe that putting two wings on the left side of a jetliner and none on the right will make it fly. And I should be free to speak up and not “impose” my views, but to express my view that to be safe and get to the destination, you need to take a more traditional plane. And you don’t get to impose your view that I have to remain silent. Just from an economic view, I get outrageously taxed to pay for the mess that my beliefs don’t make. The Church is against stealing, killing, assault, abuse, adultery, alcohol, and tobacco, to name just a few. I don’t engage in any of them. But I have to pay for courts, police, social services, welfare, prisons, higher insurance, higher prices at stores, etc., etc. because of them. Costs me thousands every year. So, how about society stops imposing its mess on me and my children, while I merely share my views, rather than imposing them?

  • What can I say? That’s been my experience, and the experience of many Mormons.

    It could be that we differ because I have no emotional attachment to the Mormon church.

    BUT, I admit I could be wrong, and I really hate to walk around with incorrect information, so you would be doing me an important service if you could show me a few–say, 3? 4?–examples of how the LDS church respects the brains of its female members.

  • Thanks for trying to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse but my takeaway from Nelson at the pulpit is for me to thank God that I am a practicing, non-attending “Jack Mormon” and proud of it. Nelson is a nutcase. He could change his name to “Blue Diamond” or “Planters.”

  • Missionary service, ward councils and executive councils, Relief Society generally, the actual behavior of most Lattery-day Saints toward the women in their lives, hiring of professional staff in the Church office building to resolve complex problems, the doctrine that no man is complete nor may attain exaltation without a union with a woman (and vice versa)…I could go on….

  • It would be a big help if you could be more specific, and perhaps give me some links I could check out.

    I am not trying to be a PITA. I really am interested in seeing specific examples.

    ALSO, please note that my message that started this thread said that (IMO) the church has made it clear that it thinks women have no *braIns*, so it would be especially good if you could give me some links that show that the men in the leadership really do value the thinking of women.

  • No, Howie, you are trying to be a PITA, and you know it. You have a tendency to strike out confidently with some wrong piece of information or mischaracterization, and then fall silent when called out on it (it happened with Utah porn statistics just last week).

    I will say, generally, that each of what I cited invites women to lead or contribute ideas for the improvement of the world or the community.

    But, maybe if you had some specific examples of the Church indicating that women have no *brains* I could be more specific in my response.

  • I guess you didn’t read the comment in which I said “I do not like to walk around with misinformation.”

    I notice as well that you did say anything above about women *usi8ng their brains*. I wonder how many women there are in the key decision-making or policy-setting or idea-making organizations in the LDS church. My guess: very few. Correct me if you are able. (I will look in other places as well to see if I can find that info.)

    So I am most assuredly not trying to be a PITA. But I guess you have the ability to look into the minds of others, since you are convinced. My experience in life has been that mind-reading ability is present in 99.9% of true believers.

    And it sure looks to me like you are unable to supply the info I asked for. (I guess you have not seen posts of mine in which I acknowledged that I had mis-information, and thanked the person who corrected me.)

  • One might start with the series in the Ensign Magazine “At the Pulpit”(https://www.lds.org/ensign/series/at-the-pulpit?lang=eng&_r=1), from the book of the same name (https://www.churchhistorianspress.org/at-the-pulpit/?lang=eng), that is reprinting discourses by female leaders from 1831 to 2016.

    Also from the Church Historians Press “The First Fifty Years of Relief Society” ( https://www.churchhistorianspress.org/the-first-fifty-years-of-relief-society?lang=eng)
    This weeks weekly excerpt
    “EMMELINE B. WELLS ON GOD’S HAND IN THE RELIEF SOCIETY
    [From the minutes of the first stake Relief Society meeting, held in Ogden, Utah, October 1877:] I rejoice every day in the gospel and in the work of the women of Zion— The Lord has been very kind and good to us. And we ought to be very thankful that we have what thousands of women are denied, that is, the right of Suffrage— The women of the world wonder how we obtained this— I tell them the Lord helped us. (Document 3.28)”

    https://history.lds.org/section/women-of-conviction?lang=eng
    https://www.lds.org/church/news/womens-voices-past-and-present-impact-general-conference-and-the-church-for-good?lang=eng
    Every year BYU and the ReliefSociety sponsera a two day Continueing educatin confrence for women
    you should note both the topics and the speakers https://womensconference.byu.edu/booklet

    http://kennedy.byu.edu/events/women-on-politics/
    http://www.womanstats.org/about.html

  • What on earth makes you think I want you to remain silent? Please show me anyplace that I even hinted at such a view. You are seeing things that do not exist. (Hmm….I wonder where that might come from…..)

    Rather, I encourage people of all views to share their view. That lets others decide whether a poster is using logic, or is a crackpot.

    And I think it is fine for YOU, as an individual, to state your view on gay marriage or any other topic. But it is NOT fine for any tax-supported organization, such as the LDS church, to do that. And anyway, why is the church so obsessed by what happens in the here-and-now? Isn’t the church–all churches–supposedly about eternal life and all that stuff? So why the obsession with whether gay people can marry? How does it hurt anyone if 2 gay people decide to marry?

    Or, for that matter, if an individual believes he really has the emotional attributes of the opposite sex, and elects to go through the expense, the pain, etc, of changing his/her gender?

    Finally, do you think you can do a plausible job of explaining how “society impos[es] its mess on [you]?” It’s interesting that you should say that, since that is exactly what the LDS church is trying to do!

  • I will have vastly more respect for the Mormon church when it starts speaking out about truly IMPORTANT moral matters, such as racism. And I think others will to.

    And that means, among other things, being more honest–i.e. more explicit–about its own sad history, giving a sincere apology for it, instead of tip-toeing around past racism of its own and then burying that information.

    Of course, since the Mormon church never apologizes for anything, speaking out about racism will take a back-seat to obsession with sex.
    .

  • Who is instigating? I’ve had 2 ex girlfriends reach out to me via social media over the last 14 years and I avoided replying to both.

    A friend lost his wife to her online flirtations with another.

  • Wow!!! Are you for real? How you can say such nonsense about women is beyond me. And it’s sad….

  • What is sad is the number of women instigating cheating on their husbands via social media.

  • Next time I go in for my temple recommend, Bishop will ask me, Do you associate with groups opposed to the Church? I will have to say yes. The church itself since I supported the whole meet the mormon campaign. Now I find out I was actually serving Satan. This is what happens when prophets have pet peeves.
    What about that whole women take two weeks off from social media? A bit sexist wouldn’t you say?

  • “don’t try to impose your views on civil society”

    Hmm, why should I be forced to acknowledge a perverted gay marriage? How dare you impose that on me.

  • So your tiny experience and that of one friend are the basis of your sexist rants here about women & social media.

    Yes, who is instigating? The Ensign link you offered above says it’s an equally two-way street, men & women.

    OMG, I pity the woman who is your wife if you managed to marry!!!!!!

  • As I said, I wasn’t aware of the FB warning that you promote, as I’m not a Latter-day Saint I don’t have time to read your church’s publication. However, as I suspected, you purposely misrepresent what you have linked to. The 1st article from the Ensign is equal in it’s caution, speaking of “social infidelity” of both men and women. It speaks of not friending a member of the opposite sex, period. It doesn’t caution women against old boyfriends. The second link is a synopses of the first article. Only in the 3rd link is a mention of friending old flames on Facebook, and all this unofficial Mormon website says is exes, not women.

    So in your sexist, misogynist and disrespect for the women of your church, you have promoted a false picture of what was being promoted about social media precautions. And now we see it’s based on the fact that two women you dated in the past tried to friend you on FB over the last 14 years. But you didn’t respond, so you have no idea why!

    Move along, you’re such a sad, pitiful man. On hopes that you never married, nor hold any position of authority in your branch. God help them all if you do with your sexist, misogynist, hillbilly ideas of life and the place of the sexes today.

  • So, let’s read the first article shall we. That is if you can read?

    First is the example of:
    ” One client said to me, “I feel like I’m in a nightmare. I mean, this is
    not who I am.” Her husband had discovered a series of texts on her cell
    phone between her and another man in their ward. The texts ranged from
    flirtation to wholehearted emotional sharing, and her husband was deeply
    wounded. ”
    # Initiated by her

    Then is the example of :
    ” I once asked a man who had been engaging in online infidelity via
    texting if he knew what he was getting from that relationship that he
    wasn’t getting in his marriage. ”
    # Initiated by him

    Next is the example of:
    “A wife locked her phone and changed the password so that her husband
    couldn’t see her text messages. He found out later that this was the
    point at which she and the man she was involved with online had started
    disclosing their feelings for each other. Additionally, when she locked
    her phone, she began planning to meet up with the other man, which
    eventually led to physical infidelity.”
    # Initiated by her

    And then is the example of:
    ” I remember one instance in which a husband whose wife had been involved
    in online infidelity came in not only understandably hurt but also
    uncharitable and condemning toward his wife. As we processed the
    situation in therapy, he realized that he had been emotionally
    unavailable to her.
    # Initiated by her

    Oh my goodness- of 4 examples given in that talk, three of the examples relate that the wife initiated the cheating.
    Wow, so your assertion that “The 1st article from the Ensign is equal in it’s caution, speaking of “social infidelity” of both men and women” is mistaken because you have problems with truly basic arithmetic.

  • “The Ensign link you offered above says it’s an equally two-way street, men & women.”

    Hmm, the examples given in the Ensign article show that it is women who are doing more instigating than men. Learn to count David, then your words may carry some weight and people may learn to respect you.

  • Ughh,,,two hours in church each Sunday — including adult classes. Then you are supposed to do church homework…you got to be kidding me !! And it was three hours up until now. Plus Mormons typically volunteer to clean and fix up the church or temple every weekend.

    Maybe instead — they should change their name from Mormon to “Church of the Latter Day Suckers”, they could keep the LDS moniker….Yep, keep tithing that 10% too !! That 94 year-old Prophet could teach PT Barnum a thing or two about how to strip the rubes of time and money.

  • Be honest with yourself. Did you start this comment thread in a quest for more information, or did you chime in to take a bad faith dig at the Church? I’ll let you look back at your comment to ponder that.

    And I did give you examples of areas where women’s ideas are valued. Where do you think ideas come from?

    Didn’t this comment thread start with you mind-reading? I can recall two conversations I’ve had with you in the past. Your behavior then and now is consistent with you wanting to be a PITA. Regardless of your motives, that’s what you do. Feigned humility doesn’t change that (maybe I’d feel differently if you were consistent in your supposed quick recognition of corrected errors).

  • Your reply is *precisely* what we’ve seen thousands of times from individuals who seek to impose their views on others, and from religions who seek to do that.

    All liberal democracies around the world are premised on allowing individuals to do pretty much what they want, as long as they do not infringe on the liberties of others. So, for example, allowing me to consume alcohol, or coffee, in NO WAY affects what you can do or how you can practise your religion (assuming it’s Mormonism) .

    Similarly, allowing YOU to consume pork, for example, in no way affects the lives or liberties of Jews.

    HOWEVER, a very quick look at history shows that it is authoritarian religions such as Mormonism that seek to impose their views on others, for example opposing gay marriage, taxing alcohol, and so on.

  • OK, this looks like precisely the kind of response I was hoping for, and the kind of info I’m after. I’ll check these out and get back to you.

    Your response–it’s style and specificity–gives me hope that it will be exactly the info I’m after. It will take me a while to go through it all. (And bear in mind, I’m interested in the current situation, much more than historical.)

  • You’ve got some nerve, saying “be honest with yourself”.

    I said that I do not want to walk around with misinformation. What is it about that statement that you do not understand? Do you think I want to walk around with incorrect information? Doing so puts a person at risk of having his views rejected.

    My experience in life is that although lots of people of all kinds don’t mind having misinformation, followers of authoritarian religions especially don’t care if they have misinformation. After all, authoritarian religions discourage asking questions or thinking independently, so it can be dangerous to do independent thinking in such organizations.

    Yes, you mentioned “areas where women’s ideas are valued”, but you did not give me any specifics. Check out the material that Joseph M gave me–specific links, which I will investigate.

    And if you look at my post that started this sub-thread, you will see that I was interested in situations in which the BRAINS of women are valued. Do you see that?

    As to the Mormon church in general, in the past I have acknowledged several commendable things about it, such as the lack of racism among individual Mormon members, the good works of the church, etc. (Though clearly I have lots and lots of doubts about the church.) Do you remember those?

  • Howie, I don’t provide specific links because I don’t think you’re sincere. The last time I did that you shrugged them off. I find it depressingly ironic that you accuse me of mind reading and then you proceed to tell me what members of “authoritarian religions” think about misinformation. I don’t want misinformation either. But the difference between you and me is that I don’t troll blogs focused on others’ beliefs and try to tell them what they believe, blatantly mischaracterize their beliefs, or trot out false information and then when shown that the information is false, pretend that I’m just here to get the right information.

    I have a lot of nerve? You’re the one who came out swinging making bold accusations about how the Church treats women, and then shifted the burden of proof by demanding that others meet your very specific standard of evidence. (Edit: let me remind you that you started this conversation with a claim and then demanded that I prove it wrong. That’s not how debate works. That’s not how good faith conversations work.) I’m not going to play that game.

    You can pretend that you’re just taking a fair approach in some quest for knowledge. But your words elsewhere communicate otherwise. Again, occasional feigned humility doesn’t change your clearly hostile, flippant, and angry attitude

  • OH–I think I get it now:

    you don’t want to be “forced” to respect gay people. Is that it?

    Is that what your religion teaches you?

    If you’re a Mormon…what about respecting people who use coffee? Alcohol? Are you forced to respect such folks?

  • So you don’t deny what I wrote above. Thanks for the validation, not that I need it. Of course I don’t want more problems, but they will come, as they do to both believer and nonbeliever. But as new trials appear (and they will), I know they aren’t the result of you invoking that petty manipulative tyrant you worship. In fact I bear testimony this is true. In the name of cheese and rice, ramen.

  • Howard, Zamp will give you plenty of links that pay lip service to women. Every general conference you have old white men mansplaining to the “sweet sisters” how important and valuable and spiritual they are, yada yada. What is lacking are actions, even small ones, like having women speak in conference more than a token talk here and there.

    Sure, the church has these cloistered get togethers, such as Women’s Conference, and the like, but none of that stuff is empowering to them as individuals. Rather, they are a further opportunity to re-emphasize a core belief which is that a woman is here to assist God’s plan by bringing spirits into this world. Mormon women are womb-cogs in an eternal machine. Which is why for a long time, Mormons had families every bit as large as the Catholics did. But over the last decade or two, many women have started to nope the hell away from pumping out baby after baby.

    To understand that core belief is to understand almost everything the Mormon church does concerning females. It also explains why women who cannot have children, or who work outside the home whether by necessity, desire, or both, sometimes feel less than or even estranged from the organization. It is not uncommon for such women to be pitied, or sympathized with (especially by the other Relief Society women), because they can’t stay home, raise children, and be the epitome of a “mother in Zion”.

  • Quit pretending you are a sincere seeker of understanding and information. Read your comment that started this and ask yourself if that sounds like an honest person in search of answers or a person out to belittle an organization and its members. Your duplicity betrays your true motives.

  • While the documents are of a historical nature the effort put into publishing them now is to encourage women in the development of their talents.

    While this Talk is old the speaker is Dallin H Oaks Curent 1st Councilor in the 1st Presidency and likely to be the next Prophet.
    https://www.lds.org/languages/eng/content/ensign/1975/03/insights/women-and-education
    One of the Tasks for the Young Women
    https://www.lds.org/young-women/personal-progress/knowledge?lang=eng

    https://www.lds.org/languages/eng/content/new-era/1985/01/the-treasure-you-will-take-with-you

    I will note that Given the importance of Family in our theology, wanting mothers to stay home with their children when they are small is valuing women’s brains.
    As observed in an article I ran across on slate.com almost a decade ago now. When you have a critical task you put your best person on it, and that has meant often that Men have been sent to make a living, which can be done with average skill successfully, while women handle the more highly skilled task of bringing up children. (See Mr. Mom)

    “When you teach a boy, you are just teaching another individual,” President Harold B. Lee declared, “but when you teach a woman or a girl, you are teaching a whole family.”

  • OK, I read the material at the links you posted, and I appreciate your efforts in this, but I was unable to find a single item mentioning a woman who was in a position of policy-making, or was in a position where she was using her intelligence for the benefit of the church, its policies, etc.

    (And here’s a question that just occurred to me: is there any recorded instance in all of LDS history of god giving a revelation to a woman?)

    I think you have the right idea about what I’m looking for, so maybe you could look some more. Surely you can think of at least one such woman you’ve heard about? Or there must be a site somewhere run by the church or a member that will have the info I’m looking for?

    Here’s what I found at the links you provided:

    1. http://www.womanstats.org – I got no further than the first page, because I would have had to create an account, which I did not want to do.

    And even then, I would have had to do some searching to find an example of a woman in a policy-making position in the church.

    2. http://kennedy.byu.edu/events/women-on-politics/

    This page was an announcement of a BYUPAS club event “Women on Politics”, so it was not about women in decision-making positions in the church.

    3. https://www.lds.org/church/news/womens-voices-past-and-present-impact-general-conference-and-the-church-for-good?lang=eng

    This one was titled “Women’s Voices Past and Present Impact General Conference and the Church for Good”. Note that it was about “women’s voices, past”–i.e, historical–and present.

    This one was heavily historical, and I saw no mention at all of women their intelligence or in policy- or decision-making positions.

    4. https://history.lds.org/section/women-of-conviction?lang=eng “church history” – women of conviction
    This one had links to 6 major articles: Everyday women, women in church history, “Something Extraordinary”–Stories from Relief Society History; At the Pulpit (not about women using their brains or making decisions for the entire church);Articles, videos, and exhibits celebrating 175 years of teaching, service, activism, and cooperative effort by Relief Society members.; The First Fifty Years of the Relief Society; and Women with a Mission–about female missionaries.

    So, again, this page had no links to material about decision-making or women using their brains.

    I can appreciate and even understand that the top groups in the church–the 12, the 70’s, the quorums, and so on–are traditionally (and maybe even doctrinally) made up of men, so I am not criticizing those groups for not containing women. But surely there are other groups below that that make decisions of various points, decide doctrine, etc?

  • And is your comment an example of the kind of respect for others that the church supposedly encourages?

    Look, you can shut me up about this in a minute by finding me an example of a woman in a policy- or decision-making position in the church. Surely that can’t be that difficult.

    Unless, of course, there are none.

    And related to this topic, has there ever been a case in all of recorded church history in which the church said that god had given a revelation to a woman??????

  • Interesting!: I did not know that Mormons were not supposed to associate with groups opposed to the church. VERY revealing.

    Hmm..betcha $10 that no other mainstream religion or denomination asks its members not to associate with groups opposed!

    What are some of the other “interesting” questions the Bishie asks in those meetings?

  • Aaah–is calling David Allen a dreary little man” an example of the respect for others taught by the church?

    Hmm…I wonder if bishops ask, in temple recommend interviews, “do you show respect for others?”

  • Did you notice that not one of your examples above is about women using their brains, or in decision- or policy-making positions?

  • Of course, I agree with just about everything you say.

    That said…I really am looking for a few examples of the church valuing women for their intelligence, or of women in policy-making positions…or for that matter, of women receiving a revelation from god!

    If I can find such, I won;t be put in a position of stating something that is not true. (I leave that to our president.)

    You might also get a chuckle out of some of the other comments I’ve posted here in the past few minutes.

  • No Howard, I freely admit that I fall far short of demonstrating due respect to individuals on the Internet. I am impatient with religious hecklers (of any kind; I talk equally disrespectfully to the rubes who clown on Islam on Breitbart), and I’m not particularly repentant about it.

    As you admitted, you have been provided with examples. I’ve done so in the past and you’ve either not responded or have failed to acknowledge that you were plain wrong. I’m not going to do actual research for someone who clearly is not engaged in a good faith discussion. Do you disagree with my assessment of you? Look at the language you started this with. You STILL have not even acknowledged that you started this conversation in a mocking tone, not a serious question or even a serious criticism.

    And yes, look up Mary Whitmer. https://www.lds.org/languages/eng/content/history/saints-v1/07-fellow-servants. That just happens to be the example I’ve read most recently. Further, men and women are constantly encouraged to seek revelation for themselves, for their family, and in their callings.

  • Howard, you come in here acting like an expert, knowing everything and boldly proclaiming how the Church values women? You get served with information on these matters and claim that it doesn’t meet your private standard of proof. You then also feign ignorance as to women’s roles in their own organizations in the Church (Relief Society and Young Women) and one organization where women regularly tell men and boys what to do (Primary). Each of these has a general, stake, and ward level of leadership where women lead and direct, develop curricula, make policy decisions, and teach. If you are unfamiliar with these facts (and I suspect you aren’t), then maybe you shouldn’t so boldly proclaim to know the mind and attitude of the Church or its members.

  • It gave four examples and three of the four were “instigated” by women. It did not indicate that women instigate more than men. These were anecdotes, not a scientific survey.

  • I was thinking some more about that question, and it strikes me as VERY revealing.

    I can think of 2 obvious reasons the Mormon church would want bishops to ask that question:

    1. it is afraid that a mormon will hear something negative about the church from a person opposed to the church, and will believe it.

    2. it is afraid that a Mormon will hear something negative, and do some investigating on his own–presumably, to learn that it’s not true (but of course, might learn that it is true).

  • Uhh, sorry, you are seriously misrepresenting what I said.

    Yes, I have been provided with “examples”, but NOT A SINGLE ONE has been on-point. You yourself admit that elsewhere on this page when you said “not specific ones”!

    I am looking for examples of women in the Mormon church in positions of decision-or policy making, Or women in positions where they use their brains.

    If there are so many examples of women respected for using their brains, how come you and your pals have not been able to come up with a single one??????

  • The Lord is no Respecter of persons and neither am I. People earn my respect- I don’t give it freely.

  • They were used because they are relevant. Just as the talk given by the woman uses the same example of a woman hiding her texts from her husband.

  • You said ” Given the importance of Family in our theology, wanting mothers to stay
    home with their children when they are small is valuing women’s brains.”

    WHaaat??? How is that an example of women using their brains? It’s women using their emotions and bodies to teach kids.

    Now, I think that’s a very important thing–but it’s surely not an exampole of using BRAINS.

    Why is no one here able to find me an example of a woman in the church using her brains in a decision- or policy-making capacity? (Or, for that matter, receiving a revelation from god???)

  • Can you give me an example? I have some friends who are serious Catholics, and we discuss many aspects of religion, not one has ever mentioned that. (And they associate with ME, with no problems, knowing full well that I’m not exactly a big fan of the RCC.)

  • You are not supposed to be involved with Freemasonry, for example. There have been kerfuffles when Catholic charities have cooperated on various endeavors and some rightwing Catholic group, or the diocese, has a problem because one of the other charities allegedly is “pro abortion.” Even the Girl Scouts have been derided in some Catholic quarters for this ostensible reason.

  • But what is the source of this? Is it “official” church teaching, or just some individual, maybe a priest or bishop, stating his own view?

    I can think of several examples of bishops blundering or saying incorrect things. For example, there was that bishop in New Mexico some years ago who mistakenly excommunicated a nun (over a matter involving an abortion at a Catholic hospital), then re-admitted her, with barely an apology and admission of his blunder.

  • Am I misrepresenting what you said? “OK, this looks like precisely the kind of response I was hoping for, and the kind of info I’m after.” “Check out the material that Joseph M gave me–specific links, which I will investigate.”

    Now you say that, despite being provided examples, they’re not on point, despite the fact that each of those examples clearly fall into the category of women making decisions and/or policy and using their brains. You seem dissatisfied with examples of “using their brains”, but you have never provided a clear example of what you mean. I would say that you’re moving the goal posts, but that would be too charitable. You’ve buried the goal posts so that there’s no hope for knowing what they are. On top of that, this whole exercise started when you shifted the burden of proof. You made a claim, and then challenged me to disprove it. Again, that’s not how good faith conversations work. It’s how petulant Internet trolls who have little better to do than criticize someone else’s belief system operate.

    So let’s shift this back where it belongs. Rather than you making a claim and asking someone to disprove it, why don’t you back up your claim? With specific examples. And using a standard of evidence that is known only to me.

  • ROTFLMAO! Do you realize that that says about you? It says you believe anything the church says–even when the church subsequently admits it was mistaken (e.g. re racism prior to 1978).

  • Sorry, your response is just plain total nonsense.

    Not a single one of the links Joseph M provided was to an example of women using their brains OR in policy- or decision-making positions in the church.

    Why do you think it is so hard for you and others to cite even ONE clear example?

    My guess is that is because the geriatric leadership of the church is stuck in ideas 100+ years old regarding women.

  • Mistaken does not draw my ire- a father who mistakenly rebukes a child while he is under stress does not lose my respect. If anything, he has my understanding.

    Howard, you are an ignorant man. You don’t garner respect. Your works are foolish and your intent is evil.

  • Y’know, in a way, I have sympathy for them. They’re trying as hard as they can to defend the indefensible. They are not allowed to admit, or are afraid to admit, any shortcomings of any kind involving the church.

  • Well, yes, I admit my intent is “evil”=–from the perspective of someone engaged in defending the church no matter what it says or does.

    My intent is to get the truth out about authoritarian, dangerous organizations like the church.

    And that is why I have said, several times, here and on other pages on religionnews.com, that church members have always struck me as very polite (every one that I have met F2F, anyway), that church members seem to me to reject past church racist teachings, that the church engages in lots of “good works” (sometimes with ulterior motives), and so on.

  • The prohibition on Freemasonry is an edict from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, promulgated in the 1980s when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, headed that office. The other examples tend to be more individual bishops or priests. But from my understanding of Catholic doctrine, that doesn’t necessarily make it less “official.”

  • Apologizes, I misunderstood what you are looking for. Several of those links are therefore completely irreverent:

    There are of course the General Presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary, whose presidents sit on three of the top policy councils in the Church.
    https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/women-church-leaders-appointed-to-leadership-councils
    Though making them formal standing members is recent, they were consulted regularly before this change. We believe revelation is received in council and none of the highest councils go forward with a decision unless they are unanimous.
    https://www.lds.org/church/leaders/general-auxiliaries?lang=eng
    https://www.lds.org/callings/relief-society?lang=eng

    Sister Sharon Eubank serves simultaneously as 1st Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency and as director of LDS Charities, responsible for the direction of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid each year.
    https://www.lds.org/church/leader/sharon-eubank?lang=eng
    https://www.ldscharities.org/

    Instruction on how councils are to operate
    https://www.lds.org/languages/eng/content/liahona/2018/01/to-sit-in-council?lang=eng

    Establishment of doctrine happens through teaching so every time some one speaks in Conference that is part of deciding doctrine. The speakers are expected to have sought and received revelation in formulating their talks. For a more particular example ‘the earliest clear teaching of the doctrine of “Heavenly Mother”(https://www.lds.org/topics/mother-in-heaven?lang=eng) is recorded in the Hymn “O My Father” by Eliza R. Snow 2nd General President of the Relief Society and known as ‘the Prophetess’ do to her revelatory gifts.

    Is this more what you were looking for?

  • The prohibition re freemasony being official catholic teach does sorta ring a bell–though I wonder how strongly it is enforced. (After all, lots of violations of official, well-known Catholic teachings are ignored or overlooked, e.g. the prohibition on artificial birth control.)

    As for the rest, I cannot say.

  • And I was one of them. Which is why I’m a critic now. The church for a long time built an absolutist model of being inspired, having living prophets and apostles, being the restored church of Jesus Christ, being the only true and living church upon the face of the earth, etc. etc. I taught that to investigators as a missionary. Then, one day, I was Ralphie using his Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring for the first time. I had the same look of incredulity on my face.

    Wha, wha, what? Joseph married women who had living husbands? He married a 14 year old after pressuring her? He knocked up Fannie Alger and Emma threw her out of the house as a result? Whaaat? There are multiple versions of the First Vision? The one we use wasn’t even written until 18 years after it happened at a time Joseph was in a leadership crisis? It wasn’t even a big part of church teachings for a long time. What? He didn’t actually use the plates from the Hill Cumorah to translate? He used a rock in a hat? Whaaaat???? The papyri Joseph used that he declared were the account of Abraham, written “in his own hand”, were written at least 2000 years after Abraham lived and say nothing about him? What? What?

    Now the church tries to walk back its early claims or gaslights by saying, “Oh, we always taught that. You didn’t know about that? Why not?”

    This is the church that told me every time I touched myself (like every other teenage boy in the world), I was committing an act second only to murder? And then I find out all the bullsh*t above? And there’s plenty more where that came from. Yes, I was pissed and betrayed. I then despised the institutional and what I perceived as the personal hypocricy of the church and its leaders. Kimball, Packer, et al, messed me up big time. So, no, I don’t let Alexander or those like him off the hook. I make them own it.

    And now the descent into triviality with name changes, 2 hour vs 3 hour church, do nothing but solidify the clear irrelevance of the church and its leaders.

    I’m not usually so uptight; I can have a civil convo over a scotch and cigar. 🙂 But sometimes the regrets of wasting decades of my life for something COMPLETELY a scam get me a bit cranky.

  • OK, will check these out later, gotta take a break from this stuff now for a while! Tnx for making the effort.

  • I followed those links. They plainly were, by any definition of either that I would use.

    “Why do you think it is so hard for you and others to cite even ONE clear example?” I’m saying that you have been provided with examples.

    But here, why don’t we fix this, so that this is a proper debate. YOU made a claim. Now, YOU back it up. What specific examples can you find that the Church does NOT value opinions or allow/ask/value (I still have no idea what you’re actually trying to state here) their brains? And please keep in mind that you’ve established the pattern that we will use MY standard of evidence for whatever I mean by that.

  • OK, I;d call that “pretty good” work, but not entirely perfect, since the text says as follows:

    The leaders of the Church recognized this suggestion [made by her] as inspiration from heaven,…

    So I;’m calling this “pretty good” because the material says that (1) the church leaders recognized it as (2) inspiration from heaven. In other words, they did not call this a “revelation”, and *she* did not recognize it as a revelation.

    This raises some more questions in my mind:

    1. Let’s say we recognize this as “revelation”. How come it is almost exclusively *men* who get revelations?

    2. How come those *men* are ONLY the top men of the church?

    Did you ever wonder about those?

    And if you don’t mind, could you keep looking for women in decision- or policy-making positions? I’ve done some searching, but so far I;’m coming up empty. Thanks.

  • What on earth are you talking about? The links Joseph M provided plainly contained NO examples of women using their brains in a policy- or decision-making capacity. But to say they were, is typical of the 1984-type logic the LDS ehurch encourages. (No wonder so many Mormons voted for the Adulterous Orange-haired sleazebag).

    One of my earlier statements that started our discussion was this one:

    Hasn’t the church made clear that it thinks women have no brains, and belong only in the kitchen and the bedroom?

    And then I noted:

    ….if you could show me a few–say, 3? 4?–examples of how the LDS church respects the brains of its female members.

    Now, everyone benefits from editing. In the statement immediately above, I would have been clearer if I’d said something like “examples of women using their intelligence in decision- or policy-making positions in some way that affects large parts of the church.”

    So let that be my request. IF the church valued the intelligence of women, wouldn’t it have women in positions where they could use that intelligence? But so far no one has been able to show me a specific example–“Jane Smith, PhD, is director of such-=and-such policy for the XYZ Department of the LDS church…”

    You can show me that the church places *some* value on the intelligence of women if you can identify in some specific way some women in the church who do what I stated.

    If the church does in fact value the intelligence of women, it should be easy to identify a whole bunch of such women.

    But in fact, it could not be clearer that the church values women heavily as breeding animals, and as “homemakers”.

    Oh, and BTW, didn’t a past top man in the church–that fellow from Germany–?? Dieter Uchtdorf?–admit some years ago that “the church has made mistakes”? Of course, he didn’t identify any, but I guess admitting mistakes is a first step.

  • Yes, this is definitely more of the sort of thing I was looking for. It’s not *exactly* what I was looking for, since some of the material talks kind of vaguely of *leadership* and not *policy or decision-making*–and does not talk about the women’s qualifications for those positions–but it pretty close. Let’s call it “close enough”.

    (BTW, do you see the difference between this and other material you provided? This names specific individuals and assignments, and at that, current ones and not historical ones.)

    Some of the material, for example the background of Sister Sharon Eubank, does talk about background and qualifications.

    And I think your next-to-last para above is a pretty good summary. So let’s call this a hit, and bring this discussion to a close.

  • I replied to this a ferw minutes ago, but I am unable to find that reply, and I want to update it:

    If Sister Sharon Eubank is responsible for allocating millions of dollars/year in humanitarian aid, that’s decision-making, so you’ve satisfied my question. And thank you for doing so, since i will not again say “I can’t find any women in decision-making” etc etc. (And if I forget and do repeat that, I hope you will jump on me with two feet!)

  • Here are two other questions. If you sustain them, then you will do as they say.4 Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?

    While this one seems innocent enough on first glance, Bishops ask minors this question in a locked room, alone with minors. Some Bishops take it upon themselves to then probe with sexually explicit questions.5 Do you live the law of chastity?

  • Let’s be clear. YOU have the burden of proving your claim. YOU have provided no evidence apart from your say so. Your mocking attitude and duplicity demonstrate that your comments do not merit any kind of serious consideration.

    Nevertheless, just for kicks and giggles, since you have finally articulated a standard that is at least coherent (although far from clear) I’ll go ahead and answer, using the same answer that I’ve already used, but perhaps with enough detail that this will get through your thick, arrogant skull.

    “Missionary service…” Sister missionaries are given charge of preaching the gospel in a particular area, serve on mission council’s that determine the direction of the mission, and often have particular assignments that require solving particular problems (on my mission, two sisters were in charge of all missionaries’ health and started up a health education program as a service to the public. All of which require “brains”.

    “ward councils and executive councils…”
    https://www.lds.org/church/news/women-to-take-part-on-general-church-councils?lang=eng
    https://www.lds.org/church/news/councils-follow-heavenly-pattern-say-leaders-in-roundtable-discussion?lang=eng

    “Relief Society generally” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relief_Society

    “the actual behavior of most Lattery-day Saints toward the women in their lives” I cite decades of experience.

    “hiring of professional staff in the Church office building to resolve complex problems” when I had a job at the Church welfare department, I was trained by a team leader who was a very capable professional woman. There are many in the Church office building at at affiliated entities. Sheri Dew is the CEO of Deseret Book, a for-profit company wholly-owned by the Church. BYU recently named Brigitte C Madrian as the dean of the business school, the most prestigious college at the University.

  • Thank you so much for providing all of us with this very nice illustration of the politeness and respect for difference of opinion that we’ve come to expect from you.

    Your descent into name-calling tells us a lot about you.

    Anyone reading these posts can see how desperate you are, and how you’ve shown us a classic case of projection.

    Anyone reading your comments here will understand what’s motivating you: I’ve asked some tough-but-fair questions of you and others, and I’ve revealed things about your beloved Mormon church that you;’d rather not have revealed.

    All of your stuff is exactly what can always be expected from ideologues and religious extremists.

    Perhaps you should look at my comments to Joseph M. I won’t put him on the spot by asking for his opinion of your comments, but he, and others who’ve participated in or watched this discussion, will be well-aware of who is duplicitous and who is honest.

  • “I’ve asked some tough-but-fair questions of you and others.” This is a lie. You have been mocking and disrespectful through the entire course of this conversation, starting with your first comment. You have engaged in name-calling, double talk, and accusatory language. YOU set the tone of this conversation by starting with “Hasn’t the church made clear that it thinks women have no brains, and belong only in the kitchen and the bedroom?”

    How about responding to the substance of my comment?

  • Good questions. and thank you for this great conversation.

    Though there is not a strict differentiation, common LDS usage is that inspiration refers to a revelation that is given without a whole lot of specificity.
    As to who receives “revelation” one of the bed rock principles for institutional guidance is
    … It is contrary to the economy of God for any member of the Church, or any one, to receive instructions for those in authority, higher than themselves; therefore you will see the impropriety of giving heed to them; but if any person have a vision or a visitation from a heavenly messenger, it must be for his own benefit and instruction; for the fundamental principles, government, and doctrine of the Church are vested in the keys of the kingdom.”
    followed by
    “It is also the privilege of any officer in this Church to obtain revelations, so far as relates to his [or her] particular calling and duty in the Church.”
    (https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/chapter-16?lang=eng#note14-)
    Therefore we will see more revelation to the 1st presidency and 12 because they are the ones charged to receive revelation for the Church and world. Everything else will just not make it above the fold.

    I think you will find Pres. Nelson’s Talk from the Womens’ session of Conference very interesting as he lays out how observing the functioning of the Relief Society prompted major reworking of Priesthood operation.
    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2018/10/sisters-participation-in-the-gathering-of-israel?lang=eng

    The following, from the same talk, is a capsule summary of how we doctrinaly approach what is arguably the most consequential decision made by a woman.
    “As President Eyring pointed out, it was our glorious Mother Eve—with her far-reaching vision of our Heavenly Father’s plan—who initiated what we call ‘‘the Fall.” Her wise and courageous choice and Adam’s supporting decision moved God’s plan of happiness forward. They made it possible for each of us to come to earth, receive a body, and prove that we would choose to stand up for Jesus Christ now, just as we did premortally.”

  • Thank you. I too found our conversation quite interesting and enjoyable (and of course informative), and I thank you for your research efforts.

    At this moment I’m backed up with lots of things to do, but I will make it a point to read the material at the links you provided, and of course think about it, and get back to you on it, as appropriate.

  • Somehow, I never got notification of your post. So here are a few belated observations:

    1. Re masturbation, just about all religions and denoms make it evil, sinful, etc. Yet, we know it’s entirely normal, and in fact I suspect may even be an important part about learning about sex.

    My best guess is that religions make it “sinful” because they understand that it’s as normal as breath, which means they use it as a tool (one of many) to try to exert control over the sheeple.

    2. Re the many church activities I find …amusing? not so smart?–is the re-writing of Jos Smith’s work. Why? In the first few pages of Orwell’s *1984*, that’s exactly what he’s doing!

    3. I think the church is really struggling with certain stuff in its past , such as the racism it discovered only very belatedly, admitting the truth (partially, anyway) regarding the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and so on.

    4. Do you know if the ban on alcohol and hot beverages is explained anywhere? I did some research on this, and I have to do more. Based on what I know now, the answer is best found in a discipline called “Anthropology of Food”. The gist of my thinking is that anthropologist know that most groups, perhaps all, seek to distinguish themselves in many ways, one of which is by stateing requirements re food.

    More later, perhaps, badly backed up at this moment, but I wanted to comment on your interesting material above. .

  • “If I can find such, I won;t be put in a position of stating something that is not true. (I leave that to our president.)” What does that even mean? You’ve already made offensive comments that aren’t true. It’s too late to “correct” that, and it’s too late to make it look like you’re really just searching for information. Your conversation here is clearly not in good faith (otherwise you would have articulated a real question with a real standard of evidence, rather than pull the nonsense you’ve pulled here).

    You clearly aren’t looking for those things, because when you get them you either ignore them (as you have regarding Mary Whitmer), or you move the goal posts (as you have with everything else) and pretend you just weren’t clear enough. No, you were intentionally vague so you had room to move the goal posts later.

  • This is all good research. You may have as much curiosity as me!

    You said: As to who receives “revelation” one of the bed rock principles for institutional guidance is,

    [“quote from LDS website] … It is contrary to the economy of God for any member of the Church, or any one, to receive instructions for those in authority, higher than themselves; therefore you will see the impropriety of giving heed to them; but if any person have a vision or a visitation from a heavenly messenger, it must be for his own benefit and instruction; for the fundamental principles, government, and doctrine of the Church are vested in the keys of the kingdom.

    ..”It is also the privilege of any officer in this Church to obtain revelations, so far as relates to his [or her] particular calling and duty in the Church.[”]

    This is the first time in my life I’ve ever seen that phrase “the economy of god”. What does it mean?

    This material raises lots of questions in my mind. For example, is it claimed to come from god, or is it something that was decided by a group of men?

    Another very obvious question raised is, how can you be certain that a revelation really is from god,. and not (for example) a mistaken notion of some kind? People receive “revelations from god” all the time–things they want to believe. Sadly, sometimes those revelations tell those people to kill others; and it’s well-known that brain tumors and orther brain conditions can cause people to do and say very strange things.

    SECOND, wouldn’t it be impressive, and not doubted by anyone, if the revelation was received by everyone, at the same time? Say, something everyone heard at the same time? Something that appeared in the sky for all to see? Who would doubt that? Surely god is capable of that. Don’t you wonder why revelation is so private?

    THIRD, this is very convenient: limiting revelation to the top increases the power and influence of those at the top and those receiving “revelation”.

    And if the top man says he’s received a revelation, who will be so foolish as to doubt that or question it?

    All men are fallible and capable of sin, right? So what would make it impossible for him to believe mistakenly that he’d had a “revelation” that he hoped and sincerely believed would benefit the church?

    I don’t mean to be rude, but I do have to mention something that I hope will not offend you: isn’t it a fact that Joseph Smith arrested numerous times for being a con artist? So it makes me wonder if it could be that this idea of revelation was something he made up, as a way to get people to do whatever he wanted.

    As to the material you quoted, beginning with “”As President Eyring pointed out,…” I do not understand how this is relevant to our discussion. It is ancient history, about a woman who may or may not have existed; I was (still am) interested in knowing the names of high-ranking female decision- or policy-makers *currently* in the LDS church.

    This oughta be enough for you to think about for a while!

  • Because we live in a civil society and nobody ever has to give a flying crap how much you think God hates them. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. If you don’t like others doing it, nobody needs to care.

    If you need to be forced to treat people like human beings, so be it. Obviously acting in a moral, sane and civil manner is a problem for you and you need restraint.

  • Nobody ever has to give a crap what you think God says. Freedom of religion is like that. Nobody needs your respect. They require your civility.

  • Howard, sorry for the delayed response. I kinda overlooked your question #4. The literal answer is the church ascribes to a health code found in its Doctrine and Covenants Section 89, known as the “Word of Wisdom”. It’s easily Googled and is a short read. Culturally, the WoW has devolved into 5 Nos: coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs.

    But you will find no mention of coffee and tea (or drugs) in the WoW. Instead, the church has only rarely clarified the WoW. But in one clarification, the “hot drinks” mentioned in verse 9 were explained to refer to coffee and tea. Which has led to all kinds of questions, such as what is it about coffee and tea that make them bad? Is it the chemicals, such as caffeine, or is the temperature since the adjective “hot” is used. AFIK, the church has not further clarified this issue. One mildly amusing joke I tell (which is appreciated in Utah where many “good” members can be seen leaving the 7 Eleven with a 64oz Big Gulp of Mountain Dew) is, How can you tell a Mormon from a nonMormon? Answer: By the temperature of their caffeine. No to zero calorie coffee with demonstrated health benefits, but agnosticism on caffinated soft drinks. A little more trivia, BYU used to not sell Coke or Pepsi stating with all seriousness it was because there was no demand. (Begin howls of laughter)

    Again, culturally within the church, the proscriptions on eating meat only sparingly, for instance are almost universally ignored. Further, neither the church nor its apologists can comfortably explain that the “mild barley drinks” mentioned in verse 17 are anything other than beer, such gyrations being a regular source of amusement for us exmos.

    But this WoW can result in real world harm through the denial of entry into Mormon temples. Ironically, one can enter the bishop’s office morbidly obese and walk out with a temple “recommend” which is your ticket to enter a Mormon temple and engage in religious rituals there. Yet, if I walk in highly fit, a vegetarian, but like to drink tea for its health benefits, the bishop likely would not grant me a recommend. Keep in mind, Mormons like to marry in the temple because they believe that marriage ceremony is special from all other marriages because the couple is married “for time and eternity”. Mormons have long sniffed disdainfully at nonmembers’ marriages since those are only “until death do you part”. So, I can be highly fit and drink zero calorie coffee or tea and be denied the opportunity to attend my own child’s wedding for instance. And make no mistake, Mormons are so indoctrinated that many parents have not been allowed to attend their own children’s weddings. It is a tragedy that occurs regularly. I, to my shame, as a young man saw no problem that my wife’s parents could not attend our temple wedding. I think young Mormons are starting to recognize this and are taking action to have alternate ceremonies so all can participate.

    For further elaboration on WoW issues, I’d suggest mormonthink.org. http://www.mormonthink.com/wow.htm I also highly recommend Rock Waterman’s blog on the issue. It was written while he was a member in good standing. He’s since been excommunicated as is the church’s wont these days. But he tells it like it is/was. A good read.
    http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2009/06/too-bad-i-dont-like-beer.html

    Enjoy!

  • WOW!! A lot to think about and digest in your response. So I’ll reply in several individual (distinct) responses.

    As to the “hot drinks” matter, in thinking about food/drink proscriptions–the Mormon kind, keeping kosher, Muslims also not eating pork, Jains not eating anything that grows underground, etc–virtually everyone overlooks what is almost certainly the explanation. It lies in a field called “anthropology of food”.

    If you think about it, almost every religious, cultural, or ethnic group has different foods that are prohibited, and that are valued. Anthropologists who study food tend to believe that those prohibitions are a way for each group to distinguish itself from neighbors. And since Jos Smith gave no explanation, and was certainly no scientist, the food anthropology explanation sounds to me like the most plausible.

    Whaddya think? Does that sound more plausible than other explanations?

    I look forward to an interesting discussion with you.

    More later.

  • (part 2 of my reply)

    FIRST, let me say that I see a lot of very nice things in Mormons. They’re polite folks, appear to have very little hatreds of various sorts (e.g. racism) in them, the LDS church does lots of “good works”, and so on. I’d much rather have as my neighbor a Mormon than, say, a member of a Southern Baptist church.

    That said…the things you cite regarding a TR, marriage ceremonies, etc., strike me as an obvious example of social engineering. I regard the church (as an organization, and I’m thinking mainly of the upper echelons, i.e. policy-makers) as absolutely brilliant when it comes to social engineering. There is the spying by the “Strengthening church members”, for example.

    And the church has set things up so as to present Mormon apostates with lots of difficulties when they leave–probable loss of job (if you live/work in Utah), possible loss of family (I’ve heard that the church discourages that, but have also heard lots and lots and lots of examples), and so on.

    IOW, in addition to its religious teachings, the church is set up to control behavior–and thinking!!!– in lots of ways that are….let us say, highly manipulative.

  • I must add–and I do mean *must*–this comment:

    as you can see, my opinion of the LDS church is highly negative. But I am always open to a good presentation of fact or data that will show me that I am wrong, that I misunderstand something, that I am unaware of some important fact. etc. And if you can show me that I misunderstand some aspect of the LDS church, or am wrong in some other way, I REALLY would appreciate that.

    Here is an illustration of this: I have also had a very low opinion of evangelicals. But conversations I’ve had in the past 2 weeks with a professor at a leading evangelical college have shown me that in fact I was wrong–I was thinking only of a small subset of evangelicals, and :”mainstream” evangelicals are not as hate-filled or crazy as the ones with whom I’ve interacted.

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