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August 18, 2022

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David KayAugust 5, 2015

This is a thoughtful article, which I enjoyed reading. I just wanted to add one comment about he nature of change in the LDS church. It seems to me that there is a history of tension between LDS leadership and progressive members that is often at the root of change in the church. Compromise positions are often forged through the dynamics of this tension. For example, the Church's acceptance of broader civil rights for African-Americans was initially sparked by some very intense exchanges between progressive members and Church leaders, followed by many letters from African saints desiring access to the ordinance of baptism. The interaction eventually led to Declaration 2. So, there is a role for members of the Church to petition their leaders for further revelation. I think this is an important role, and wish it were more openly accepted in LDS hierarchy. Unfortunately, this dynamic is more often confrontational than cooperative. Members are not normally given access to general church leaders, and must therefore rely on confrontational tactics to gain attention. I think Church culture could benefit immensely of there were an open, honest forum where normal members could petition Church leaders directly. Of course change is always difficult and messy, so perhaps confrontation is unavoidable.

TegTapDecember 7, 2014

This was exactly what I needed to read today. Very eloquently put.

LuraDecember 6, 2014

Thank you for this insightful and well-written piece. I couldn't agree more.

DanDecember 4, 2014

Heber C. Kimball foresaw what we are going through today in the Church. To paraphrase, he said there would be a time "in this now peaceful valley (referring to the Salt Lake valley) when we will be mixed up to the extent in which it will be difficult to tell the face of a saint from the face of an enemy to the people of God". When a member of the Church incessantly demands ANYTHING that goes against the combined counsel of the First Presidency, you can be assured they are advocating against the will of God. Period. End of story. Was it not Christ himself who said that we are either for God or against God? Was it not Christ himself who taught that a house divided against itself shall fall? Was it not Christ himself who said that no man can have two masters? Mercifully, if we do have questions about what the Prophet proclaims, can we not ask God in humble prayer to guide us? (James 1:5-6 and Moroni 10:5). Do we actually believe that or not? My family moved to northern Utah in 1978 and the amount of change I've seen firsthand among Latter-day Saints in the Salt Lake area in the last 36 years makes me cry in shame and sorrow. The Church is being viciously attacked, both by non-believers and by wolves in sheep's clothing who claim to be "us"/our fellow Mormons. Over what? Homosexual 'marriage', the validity/righteousness of previously practicing polygamy, previous policies on African-descent blacks and the Priesthood, women and the Priesthood and even our own history. To listen to the liberals among us you'd think the rest of us are nothing but foolish dolts. Fine. Insult me if you wish, I don't care. Your contempt only makes me more motivated to endure. What Heber C. Kimball knew (and other prophets, seers and revelators, too) is that the Lord's church is going to experience a MAJOR amount of apostasy among our current members over the issues I mentioned above. It happened in Joseph Smith's day when approximately 1/3 left the Church in the timeframe of our stay in Kirtland, OH and it will happen again. Like I said, you can see it happening right NOW in the Salt Lake valley. Will women someday receive the Priesthood? I have no idea, but IF it occurs I am confident that the way things are now is not by accident or stupidity on behalf of the Prophet and his counselors. It's that way because the Lord wants it that way. Will a "practicing" homosexual ever be considered morally worthy? (key word, "practicing") Nope. Never, no matter what the liberals scream. Did Joseph Smith practice polygamy for the sole purpose of satisfying his sexual desires? Nope. Anyone who claims that has zero testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet. None. They might have before but they don't now. Keep the faith. Love everyone (yes, even the foolish among us). Don't be deceived into calling evil, good and good, evil. Till we meet again...

Lew Elton JeppsonDecember 3, 2014

At some point, it seems to me, Mormonism must reckon with the increasingly top heavy distributions of wealth and income in capitalism. Mormonism traditionally treat capitalism with kid gloves, if at all. Capitalism keeps changing. It is maturing, and much of it is really ugly. If the distributions of wealth in capitalism keep getting more top heavy, something's gotta give. How is this going to work out?

Hannah JaneDecember 3, 2014

This article was extremely well written.

Jordan LatimerDecember 3, 2014

Great article! I couldn't agree more. I have often looked at the Ordain Women movement and thought, "Is that the right path?". I have no doubt it would be the easiest path, but sometimes the easiest path is not the right one. I like how you pointed out that while the church may not ordain women for now, it is definitely making great bounds and leaps in women's responsibility and visibility. The prophets are truly guided by the Lord. I know that without a doubt! Hurrah for Israel!

Patricia HillDecember 2, 2014

Satan understands much more than we do, what the end will be. His stated intention is to make sure as many of us don't succeed as he can. Misery always loves company. Being popular with the world, following the middle of the road, don't rock the boat, move with the times are all examples of phrases and paths that will never get you back to live with our Father in Heaven. They are simply diversions to distract from the true path, by proposing easier alternatives that seem so attractive and less hard to deal with. This was a great article, and made me think about where I might be compromising my standards and to get back on the Lord's side.

CoryDecember 1, 2014

Reminds me of the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. This one was too hard. This one was to soft. This one was just right. Finding the just right solution is never easy because the extremes require so much less thought. Good article. Here's hoping getting to just right won't be too painful.

J.T.December 1, 2014

If we recall our covenants made in the Temple this article makes even more sense. Well though-out and well written.

Lorena HolmsteadDecember 1, 2014

I love the point you make about change being fundamental to Mormonism. In fact, I feel that there are changes coming in the Church will actually alienate a whole other branch of people who like it just the way it is. :) But the change will be a new path, not one that follows the world's ways. As you pointed out, the Lord will create His own path through the voice of his prophets!

Central TexanDecember 1, 2014

Response to "Hilary" regarding a published reference on the doctrine of a Heavenly Mother: From The Family: A Proclamation to the World, "All human beings — male and female — are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents." Also, see hymn "O My Father" from the official church hymn book (Hymn #292). In the text written by Eliza R. Snow she recognizes based on reason that she not only has a Father in Heaven, but that she has "a mother there" as well. Although neither of these are canonical sources, they are officially published by the LDS Church. [Note: not ALL text in the hymnal can be considered accepted doctrine. This is particularly true in hymns from traditional sources. Two examples from traditional Christmas carols: In the song "With Wondering Awe" (Hymn #210) the Wise Men are said to be traveling "to seek the lowly manger" which is not correct as Jesus was no longer in the manger at the time of their visit. In "The First Noel" (Hymn #213), shepherds were keeping their sheep "On a cold winter's night" and saw a star "shining in the east." The star was not in the east (nor was it referenced by the shepherds). The Wise Men were in the east when they saw the star. That Christ was born on a cold winter's night is also not doctrinal. The hymn "O My Father", however, would not be included in the hymnal as is without acceptance of the doctrine of a heavenly mother.]

AJNovember 30, 2014

"If we do not do our part to heed our imperfect leaders, than we render ourselves incapable of being led by the Lord as a community, no matter how sincerely we may attempt to seek Him out as individuals." I feel like this statement makes some tacit/unclear assumptions and deserves further explanation/clarification/justification. Could you please offer a little more regarding your thoughts on this point?

JessicaNovember 30, 2014

I feel like this article was written for me. We are a peculiar people, filled with faith and hope. Thank you for helping me shift my thinking and strengthen my own faith and hope.

HilaryNovember 30, 2014

Kindly provide a reference for the published doctrine of a Heavenly Mother you refer to in your final paragraph. Thank you.

Old ManNovember 28, 2014

Nate, Thanks for posting this. I have read much of what you have posted over at T&S and I appreciate your thoughtful and faithful path.

RosieNovember 28, 2014

Thanks so much for this article! It's so refreshing to remember that there is always a third way. One of Satan's tactics is to have everyone polarized into one of 2 camps. But there is always more to the story, and creativity is one of our essential birthrights as sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.

kevin jkNovember 28, 2014

I don't think it's fair to label the Bloggernacle as leftist. Many there are simply asking why certain policies and teachings exist and for justification. I asked elder Oaks once why women weren't allowed to be Sunday School presidents or in Sunday School presidencies since they do not exercise priesthood nor act in any line authority way. He looked at me and said, "I don't know. It's just the way it's always been". The Bloggernacle would be right in asking for justification for this policy and asking for a change. This does not make us leftists. Rejecting tradition as an excuse for doing something doesn't make us leftists. Joseph Fielding Smith and Harold B. Lee both stated that if they ever said something that was contrary to scripture, then their words should be rejected and that scripture should prevail. Other apostles have stated that we only have to defend what is found in scripture and not the words of any church leader. They have stated that scripture is the only official source of Church doctrine. Many, including myself, have denounced the Church's position supporting prop. 8 in California since it violated the scriptural prohibition of using one's religious opinions as justification to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others (1 Cor. 10:29 & D&C 134:4). Gays in CA had the right to marry and we LDS and other Christians used our religious opinions as justification to infringe upon that right. We were objectively wrong in supporting it. Many believe that we SHOULD use our religious beliefs to pass laws forcing obedience to Gospel ideals. That is wrong. that was Satan's plan. The Gospel is libertarian in nature. God said once, "...thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee, but remember that I forbid it.." God teaches us correct principles and lets us govern ourselves and does not us force. He uses Kindness, gentleness, meekness and love unfeigned to persuade us to follow Him. Those in the Bloggernacle who want the Church to adhere to this Gospel standard and reject the "wicked traditions of our fathers" are not leftists and should not be condemned. They should be praised for standing up for the truth and willing to face a tidal wave of criticism.

ColeNovember 27, 2014

Very nice and insightful piece. I especially liked the pointing out of how critical gender is in LDS doctrine compared to the insignificance of race in the eyes of a loving Heavenly Father. Excellent point when faced with the rising false narrative This site has been a welcome find.

Brian DavidsonNovember 27, 2014

Well said. You've answered some questions I've been working through in looking at the parallels some have made between the priesthood being offered to all worthy male members and the arguments for accepting homosexuality.

Meg StoutNovember 26, 2014

Great comments about the way the prophets lead. With respect to those advocating for female ordination, they appear not to have acknowledged that all sects that have ordained women have seen drastic decline in their membership, with the Church of England being a particularly interesting example. The Church of England had supposed that ordaining women to the clergy would make them more relevant, causing membership numbers to increase and grow. Instead, membership showed no change when the decision to ordain women was made, and membership has declined to the point where now roughly 1% of the supposed membership attends meetings. A minor note - not all blogs in the blogosphere lean left. Some of us are happy to celebrate the Church and the ways the gospel blesses our lives.

AndrewNovember 26, 2014

Thank you so very much for your thoughtful comments.

JulieNovember 26, 2014

I think I'm not alone in my thoughts that most members of the church are tired of being told how they should be feeling and thinking by the left wing LDS bloggers. I don't like being shamed for being good or discredited because I have a strong testimony and love the gospel. Any time I try to defend the prophets and apostles in the bloggernacle, I get shut down so fast and basically called dumb and a sheep. The feminists are the worst at bullying and shaming and I am constantly mocked, along with others who try to defend the apostles. Faithful LDS who are not left wing are getting very tired of hearing loud shrill voices and telling us that we should be unhappy and looking for ways to bring the world into the church. Not cool. What I've seen though is that you have to agree with feminist philosophies and if you don't agree or at least try to acquiesce in some form, you're a blind molly Mormon. Mocking, whether outright or subtle, towards those who want to stand up for what is right is basically shaming good people into submission. It really isn't fair to the vast majority of members who are living the gospel the best they can and serving happily and happy about following the prophets and apostles..The loud voices keep telling me that if I'm happy following the prophet, apostles and sticking with church doctrine and serving and being a wife and mother that I'm stupid, out of touch, old fashioned, don't want change and don't have much mental acuity to see all the inequality and injustice they see (or are looking for, who knows which sometimes). I resent being told how to think and how to feel as a Mormon women by those in my own church who are feminists. I love being a woman in the LDS church and I love being a mother. Glad you wrote this article!!!! There is so much good to be looking for and to be doing around us and in our wards. Let's just go and do it.

Gary LawrenceNovember 26, 2014

Good job.

Renaissance NerdNovember 26, 2014

I think you're absolutely right about the narrow-minded way of looking at the world that is being forced on everybody these days, not only in the Church but all over. This all-or-nothing choosing up sides is bad for everyone. Trying to force your beliefs on others is always a bad thing, because it never works. I often wonder how many purported Muslims living in countries where they'll be killed if they apostatize actually believe. It's impossible to know in that situation; half of them might think their religion is bunk, but you'd never know it. Indeed, the most zealous might be the ones who really doubt, because they must ensure that nobody suspects them. It is this aspect of the 'progressive' agenda that really irritates me. This idea that all must agree on everything or be cast into outer darkness with hatred and revulsion is anathema to my religious, philosophical and political beliefs. I think the 'historical inevitability' theorem is partially to blame, but also the ugly tendencies of garden-variety self-righteousness. Joseph Smith said '...and I say unto you that there will be more rejoicing in heaven over the sinner that repenteth than over the ninety-and-nine just person who are so righteous; they will be damned anyway, you cannot save them.' I think the moment you consider yourself so correct, so perfectly right about something that it's not only alright but required to resent those who disagree, you've crossed that line and can't be saved until you realize that you're standing in the wrong fold. I think the changes in the Church are more a recognition of the incorrect cultural beliefs that wormed their way into de facto doctrine, and the recognition that we need to purge as much of that as possible. But God knows what he's about; the larger culture in which we swim had to change first. The same goes for women in the priesthood. We KNOW from the Temple that women are not eternally banned from becoming priestesses to God. It is not from inferiority in God's sight, so it must be some other reason. I believe that at the latest women will hold the priesthood after Christ's return, and I reckon it's quite possible it will happen beforehand. Those who bridle at the rate of change should take a chill pill and pay some attention to history; it takes generations to make real changes. Force only produces backlash. It hasn't been a hundred years since women had the vote, and the most 'progressive' churches are dying off very quickly. Work to change the larger culture first, let the idea of equality settle into normality, and then worry about the holdouts. Right now feminism is the toy of rich girls that has almost no relevance to the majority of women in the world. It is not producing a general idea of equality between the sexes because of its focus on irrelevancies like 'bossy.' It is actually hampering the movement of the culture towards equality. Once the culture finally reaches that point, and women are actually allowed to be treated as adults as they still are not in many ways, God might decide that the time has come. Or He may decide to let the Church lead the way instead. In all events, trying to force the Church to move is by definition declaring the Prophet is no Prophet, and therefore the Church is not true. Agitation by necessity includes the assumption that the Church is entirely the domain of human beings, and not led by God at all. God won't be moved; He knows what he's doing, and if the Prophet is His Prophet, then any change will come when God decides it should.

LDWNovember 25, 2014

"The recent Race and the Priesthood article at LDS.org pointed out that the racial ban was never based on any specific revelation or canonized doctrine ...". Not that I want to hijack the thread because there are some interesting points in it but I'm not seeing any where in that article where they point this out. From my reading the article does not expressly identify where the ban came from but that is not the same as stating that it wasn't based on a specific revelation or canonized doctrine. My recollection is that, in response to the Randy Bott debacle, the official church response was that it was not known why, how or when the restriction began. However if I'm missing some statement in that artlcle that does point it out I'd appreciate being enlightened. Thanks.

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