Saturday, November 7, 2015

Enough is Enough!

I cannot begin to express how disturbed I am over the new Church policy regarding Same-Sex couples and their children. I cannot sleep I am so disturbed. This grates at the very core of my Mormon soul! How can we deny the blessings of the Gospel to innocent children? Why is living in a home with two moms or two dads such a source of conflict? Is it worse than living in a home with drug-addict parents? Would seeing that example cause "conflicts" between what is taught or demonstrated in the home and what is taught at Church? Why don't we deny baptism to those kids? Or kids from divorced families? Under this new policy, a child living with a dad who is an ax murderer can get baptized, but GOD FORBID if a child is living with gay parents! I am totally disgusted right now! Totally! This new policy is even worse than this one:

I feel like this is a backlash - a retrenchment of sorts - to the recent SCOTUS ruling. It is a continuation of the heinous polices of "annotating" membership records of gays and of the outright ostracizing of transgender folk. This does nothing but divide, alienate, and punish. Is that REALLY what Jesus would do??

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Sobering Anniversary

I saw this on Facebook and thought it was worth mentioning. 34 years ago today the New York Times published the first article describing a peculiar form of cancer that seemed to be affecting homosexual men. The response (or actually lack of response) by officials would allow the virus later to be called AIDS to take the lives of millions around the world. I remember hearing sermons that called it a 'just reward' for queers, and 'the hand of God' smiting the wicked. Five years later my dear friend's son - a hemophiliac - died of AIDS, leaving a wife and 5 children alone and without support. We must never forget the bigotry of those times that led public officials to basically ignore a public health epidemic! We are all in the same ship.

Rare cancer seen in homosexuals

Saturday, June 20, 2015

It's Not About That!

The Deseret News just published an article wherein it calls the recent attack and murder of innocent African-Americans in Charleston, SC an attack on 'Religious Liberty'. This is an EPIC FAIL on the part of DN! Let's call hatred, racism and murder what it really is - hatred, racism and murder! Not your pet political topic of the day...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ad Mormonem

He is too a prophet....I felt it!
...he is too a Prophet! - I felt it!!

ad mor·mo·nem   \(ˈ)ad-ˈmor-moə-ˌnem, -nəm\ 

A uniquely Mormon form of  argument.

1. appealing to spiritual feelings, testimony, or patriarchal prejudices rather than intellect

2. marked by or being an attack on an opponent's worthiness or orthodoxy, rather than by an answer to the contentions made. More effective if delivered in the Primary Voice. Light sabers optional.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Getting There?

A few months ago I posted about the Priesthood Ban (here); and this week, lo and behold the Church has posted something exciting and new that somewhat addresses my concerns!

Race and the Priesthood

Actually they posted it last Friday. Quietly. Without comment.

Its surprisingly blunt. (Spoiler - here's the important part):

Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.23

The good news - they finally admit it was all a big mistake! They blame it on Brigham Young, and they state - for the record - that they disavow and condemn all racism past, present, and future! Amen!

The bad news - they finally admit it was all a big mistake!  Why did it take so long to cough this up? What does that say about other "doctrines" the Church seems to insist on? What else is a mistake?  Where does that put us, exactly?

Yes, the questions this raises I'm sure will boil and bubble for some time to come. But, at least for now, we have an absolute admission that the pet theories of the past regarding 'fence-sitters in the pre-existence", or "descendants of Cain" were nothing but plain 'ole HOGWASH!

P. S. -  I still think an apology would be nice...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Revisiting Stonewall

A while back I wrote an historical piece about what I consider the Mormon Stonewall (read it Here). Today I ran across a document that would seem to be an epilogue to those events.

The document in question is a proposal written by Elder Dallin H. Oaks in 1984. This wasn't too long after the publication of the Payne Papers (linked Here), and just a few months after Elder Oaks was called to be an Apostle. So this may well be the first major project he worked on in that role. As you will see, many of the thoughts present in the formation of the defunct Values Institute are carried over in this document. Its also apparent that the Church has followed this exact plan for the past 29+ years in its approach to oppose Gay Rights.

In short - the recommendation was to allow certain types of legislation that had slim chances of winning, that focused on punishing 'sin', or that posed little 'threat' to the Church to go unchallenged (and therefore make our stance seem less "religious"); but to vigorously react to ideas of Gay Marriage (Prop 8) or inclusion of gays in areas where minors may be 'recruited' or influenced by gay adults (Boy Scouts Policy). Distinction was made between those who experienced the homosexual 'condition' and those who engage in homosexual 'practices'. Its a fascinating read, so dive in:

Principles to Govern Possible Public Statement on Legislation Affecting Rights of Homosexuals, by Dallin H. Oaks, 1984

Monday, October 7, 2013


How to Swim in a Burqa
1. Update will.
2. Don said burqa.
3. Proceed to the deep end of the pool.
4. Say farewell to family and friends.
5. Dive in!
6. Enjoy your last, surreal moments as you helplessly sink straight to the bottom - the billowing black cloth transformed into your funeral shroud.
This was the image that came to my mind as I sat in Mutual one Wednesday night. As a matter of business we were discussing the upcoming Young Women's Camp, and some rules and guidelines were being reviewed. The one that set off my flight of imagination was this one:
"All young women are to wear one-piece bathing suits while at camp. No two-piece suits or bikinis allowed. You are also required to wear knee-length shorts and a t-shirt over your swimming suit at all times - even while in the pool."
Say what!? These are girls. Attending girls camp. Girls - get it! Not boys. Not co-ed. Girls!! My BS-ometer instantly pegged over into the red zone! Were the Young Men given the same sort of requirements for Boy Scout Camp? No! As a Scout Leader and veteran of numerous Scout encampments and Jamborees, I can say unequivocably and from personal experience that the boys have no such standards of modesty. This is a double-standard. Again.
I have no idea where this directive came from, but at this point I shouldn't be surprised. For the past few yeas I've become more and more aware of the negative and injurious policies we frequently perpetuate against women - and especially Young Women - in the Church. But women are starting to speaking out, and some men are evidently beginning to listen.
One account I read that really hit me where it counts was about a Stake Priesthood Meeting. The Stake President invited Bishops to come forward and report on what they had done to prepare the Young Men for Priesthood and Missionary service. The Bishops were eager to share. Many heart-felt stories were told of time spent, tears shed, blessings given, and the miraculous transformation of testimonies as wayward young men were saved from the clutches of the World . Then the Stake President asked each Bishop to come back up and share the stories of how they had helped prepare the Young Women.

............ < cricket-chirp >............

The awkwardness that followed was a powerful lesson. And a sad commentary.
From the way we teach modesty and chastity standards; to the activites, lessons and programs we design for them,  to the time Priesthood leaders spend with them -  Young Women get the short end of the stick. And you better believe that the girls know it! The tragic thing is, it doesn't have to be this way. Much of our treatment towards women in the Church is based on tradition or policy - not on doctrine. We saw an example of this the last General Conference, where women offered prayers for the first time ever. There was never any doctrinal prohibition against women praying, it was simply tradition. A bad one.
And women are now speaking out about these issues as never before.  Consider this FAIR article by Neylan McBaine.  Sis. McBaine is an active, faithful Latter-Day Saint who also happens to be a creative director at Bonneville Communications, and has worked on several projects of note, including the I'm A Mormon campaign and The Mormon Women Project. What's even more huge is that her research has been used by the likes of Michael Otterson, which means this stuff is filtering all the way to the top.

Sis. McBaine's excellent article (which I think should be required reading for all male Leadership) underscores the reality that the way women are treated by the Church, both in the way their role is defined and the way in which our Patriarchal culture tends to marginalize them, is leading to a crisis of faith for many women, both young and old. In her words, "The pain is real." From the way we conduct councils of the Church to the amount of money we spend on the Young Women's program, women are treated inequitably in many ways.
Another voice in the chorus of women speaking out that I have especially been impressed by is a group called  All Are Alike Unto God. On their web site, they offer a list of suggestions as to what the Church can do RIGHT NOW to change policies and traditions that marginalize and harm women of all ages. Its brilliant! Here are a few pertient examples:
> Create parity in the Young Women and Young Men organizations through equivalent budgets, educational programs (leadership, career, and spiritual training,) and activities (sports, service, and outdoor events).
> Balance the stories and images of boys and men in church publications, talks, and other media with stories and images of girls and women.
> Invite women in Church leadership positions to speak and pray during General Conference in numbers equal to the participation of men. Encourage leaders to use gender-inclusive language whenever possible.
> Recognize that girls and boys, women and men are equally responsible for appropriate sexual behavior, and avoid reducing morality to sexuality, and modesty to a preoccupation with women’s and girls’ clothing.
> Call women to perform pastoral counseling, particularly for women and girls who have been sexually abused.
> Delegate more expansive supervisory authority to the Stake and Ward Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary presidencies, including approval of personnel, programs, and activities.
> Examine all Church positions to determine whether they can be filled without regard to gender.
> Call young women as well as young men to serve missions at the same age and for the same length of time, and afford women the same opportunity as men to function as district leaders, zone leaders, and assistants to the president.
Its time to put an end to the inequities and (often ridiculous) double-standards Young Women must navigate as they experience their journey through the programs of the Church. What are your ideas on how we could improve our program for Young Women and show them they are indeed precious Daughters of God, EQUAL in His sight?