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Wednesday, December 14, 2005 

What Would An Angel Say, The Devil Wants To Know

I had an experience on Sunday that once again makes me wonder just where my place in Mormonism is. For the days since I have pondered where I belong in this religion, where my thoughts and feelings and convictions fit in. I have wondered about a lot of things, I have in no way questioned my faith in Jesus Christ, but I have questioned my faith in the Mormon Machine.

On Sunday I attended church solo as my husband works every other weekend and can’t attend our 9am meeting block with me. Sacrament meeting was a missionary farewell that felt more like “This is Your Life” instead of an hour of worship. I tried really hard to put myself in the shoes of that mother who was sending her son off (to where I don’t know because him actually serving a mission was never mentioned, she was too busy talking about him being born prematurely) to serve the Lord for 24 months and how I would feel if it were me. That got me through the meeting, but honestly, my spiritual tank has been dangerously close to empty as of late. Working 12 hours a day and never seeing my husband except for when I kick him out of bed for snoring and am waking him up before I leave for the day has worn me down, and I needed to be filled, I needed to be replenished. It wasn’t happening. So, I made my way to Sunday School with the hope that there would be a teacher who would provide the class with a catalyst for a spiritual discussion that would get me feeling the way I wanted to feel, and was currently not. I needed spiritual stimulation! Having been a gospel doctrine teacher for 8 years, I was foolish enough to believe that perhaps that class would have been the place to find it. No such luck.

I’m not sure what the actual lesson title was, but the class instructor wrote “THE FAMILY IS UNDER ATTACK!” on the board and then proceeded to make a list of all the ills of the world that are attacking the family: the government, abortion, gays, the media, selfishness and then (ironically) pride. People in the class then took turns judging groups of people they probably haven’t had all that much interaction with and demonizing what to me felt like anyone who wasn’t Mormon. Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened next. I raised my hand and proceeded to word vomit on the whole class. I expressed my belief that maintaining a strong family unit was not unique to Mormonism, that we were not the only religion in Christianity or otherwise that took HUGE steps to help families stay together, and to stay strong. I also expressed my belief that by demonizing other groups of people we were doing nothing but falling prey to the evil pride we have preached so much against. I explained that this coloring of people as evil and unclean and a burden on a society that if it were ours alone would be without flaw did nothing but drive the mot deeper into our own eyes as we are so feverishly busy trying to get the beam out of everyone else’s. I expressed my opinion that we should keep our opinions about abortion to ourselves, that by saying someone is no good because they have experienced abortion or thought about it or support a woman’s right to choose an abortion was one of the most asinine, self righteous things I had ever heard. I said that we are so easy offended when people teach against Mormonism, when we are protested against at conference or when a temple is going up, but we are more than happy to sit in this class and do the EXACT SAME THING to people outside out faith. And then was when I started to cry a little.

Needless to say, there was what I like to call a “stunned silence” for a little bit. And then the teacher did what I probably would have done if I were teaching and said something along the lines of, “we’re not judging anyone.” Which, you know, was just a big fat lie. So, I sat there through the rest of the class silent (and that will probably be the way I sit through church for the rest of my life) and FLED as soon as the closing prayer was said.

Here’s my bright spot in all this. A little 65 year old sister followed me out and stopped me. She then thanked me for my candor, thanked me for saying some of the things she’d been thinking. She talked to me for a long time. Told me of growing up in Utah, hating the way people acted there, making her own waves. (In 1977 she told a relief society that she would rather her daughter marry a black man who would honor the priesthood if he could hold it than a blonde haired blue eyed returned missionary who didn’t honor that priesthood he had been blessed with. “You should have heard the gasps!” she told me.) It was good to talk to her. It was good to tell her, “Sometimes I think I’m just WAY to liberal to be Mormon!” and have her say, “I’ve felt that way for a long time.”

That night, I finally told my husband what had happened, and then I started the whole crying thing again. I told him about the feelings in my heart of not belonging, of feeling like I can’t speak my mind, that my thoughts and feelings are looked down on and I should be ashamed of how I feel. “Why did you marry me when I’m like this? Why did you marry someone who doesn’t belong anywhere?” He smiled that smile that he does, the one that makes me think he really does know everything sometimes, and said, “I married you because you belong with me. I married you because I love the way you think and I believe you can do nothing but good by sharing those thoughts.”

I still don’t know how I feel about what happened on the Sabbath. I don’t know how I will be received when I return to church this Sunday. What I do know is there has to be a place for me. There has to be a reason for my believing in this for so long, even when it would have been so much easier for me to simply walk away. But where is there room for a pro-choice, gay loving, liberal to the core brown girl like me in Mormonism?

Posted by Sarah Marinara

I think that the MOST important thing you can do at this point to 'find your place' is to be there next Sunday, unshaken and ready for business (sort of speak).

Prediction: you will be called to you Nth term as Gospel Doctrine Teacher. And you will be fabulous.

Although you may have heard stunned silence, I hope you could hear all of us clapping loudly in your head.

I think it is very encouraging when people like you speak up during classes like that. There are probably more people like you than you realize, who are also uncomfortable and didn't dare come up to you after the class.

Also, it will help the others realize that their point-of-view isn't universally shared by members.

Wow, this really spoke to me as I often wonder where my place is in teh Mormon Machine. And really if I even want to be part of the Mormon Machine anymore. Thank you for speaking up.

Sarah,

Bless you. I have been in your shoes, I have had similar conversations with older members who had been waiting years to hear a kindred spirit pipe up, and my husband has said the same things to me many a time. I agree with Jess and Flanders. Go back and know that you are representing untold numbers of the bewildered silent. Brava.

Trust me, there are others in that class and in your ward that feel the same way and it is good to let the outspoken majority know that there are those with differing opinions. I wish you were in my ward.

Been a long time 'nacle ghost-this is the first time I've ever posted, but I felt the need to respond.

The place for you is exactly where you are- from the way it sounds, the people in your ward needed to hear those reminders. Like others have said, not everyone may have felt that way. The "mormon machine" needs more voices like yours and maybe eventually people will get the idea- it's not about judgment. I for one appreciate this post, as it reflects how I often feel. Thank you so much!

Don't worry about feeling bad in church. The church is of Jesus Christ, but filled with humans full of weaknesses. That is why we need church. You may not know this, but you speaking up like that maybe was inspired and taught others who are more sheltered. Maybe you were serving the Lord and didn't know it.I mean God made us to be individuals and using our individuality blesses the church. Sometimes it is what we do for others that is more important. That is something my father always taught me when I felt like I didn't belong in church. I realized my job is to love and serve, not the other way around. After changing my attitude, I found that I received more blessings and actually looked forward to each Sunday. I also found that people weren't as judgemental and boring as I thought. I realized I was just as guilty of being judgemental. I feel much more free now!!

Your story reminds me of the time when most Mormons used to believe that the Catholic Church was the great Abominable Church.

In truth the great abominable church is anyone, Mormon or not, who is not living a moral and upright life.

You're so right. Some of us Mormons can be quite dogmatic and self-righteous sometimes. They think that they are better than everyone. But you prove that that is not always the case and that there are some people whose hearts are big enough to love everyone regardless of creed, color, or sexual orientation.

I wish I'd have spoken up 10 years ago--instead I just walked out and never came back.

Thanks Sarah!

Sarah,

I wish you were in my ward! There IS indeed a place for you...it's sitting next to all the rest of us liberal-gay-feminist-pro-choice-
multicultural-lovin' folk who are small in number but still mighty in testimony.

Please don't give up or stop speaking up. My heart beats a little faster and happier just knowing that YOU'RE out there and I'M not alone!

-Kanga

In the 12 years I've been a member, I've never heard any of the Twelve or the First Presidency condemn any group. GBH has made a point when speaking on gays to let everyone know:
"My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God."
"As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church."

While we often hear about men abusing the authority of the priesthood in the family, we more often hear our leaders teach about respect for women and how they are to be equal partners.

I view the Church leadership at the top levels to be loving and tolerant. They, in my mind, are truly people filled with the love of Christ. The problem is that level of righteousness is found in fewer and fewer numbers as you go down the Church heirarchy.

Christ's example to love all, including the one that everyone else viewed as "vile sinners" is lost on many, I fear.

Good job in speaking out!

I agree with what's been has said here. It takes guts to speak out like that, and though it doesn't happen often, it is quite comforting to those in your ward with similar feelings.

--JLS

You already know how I feel about this...you have NOTHING to feel bad about. I like what metro mom said...I say you WERE prompted by the spirit to speak out.

Unconditionaly love without judgement...one of Christ's most important examples...

Sarah,

I too wish you were in my ward. Every day I wonder where my place is in the LDS church, and have to remember that my place is really with God. Sometimes, Sundays are filled with annoying rhetoric from the classrom and the pulpit. But sometimes... sometimes the most beautiful things are said or felt. It may be only a fraction of the time... but that's why I keep going.

(by the way, LOVE the title of the post)

Sarah, I wish I had questioned my place in the "mormon machine" instead of just leaving it. Until I found this site, I didn't realize that it was okay to have a testimony and be open minded at the same time. You prove you can be both, keep speaking your mind!

My wife and I came up with a term for people like us, and people like you (at least I think we made it up). We call ourselves "prog-mo's" (short for progressive mormons). I would love so much for the term to attain wide usage in the world. So pass it along.

At one point I had hit my limit and thought I didn't have a place in the Mormon Machine. To cover all my bases before leaving, I decided to listen attentively at the next Gen Conf and note the specific things that I disagreed with and why I was no longer compatible with the LDS Church. Strangely enough, other than a few minor quibbles, I found myself appreciating and agreeing with the messages of the leadership. I think the close-mindedness is a local phenomenon; the GAs are pretty charitable. I stayed. And I'm glad you're staying too - the local wards need to hear more open-minded comments.

Melinda

Good for you, Sarah!

I love how you used the metaphor of the mote. It is unfortunate that we do not make of an effort to explore the gospel more in the words of Jesus Christ.

By the way, Christ never taught family values. He taught that if we love only our own then we are no better than the heathen. Christ expected us to love our enemies.

That family values business is fundamentally confused. Love for our children might be the most virtuous manifestation of self-interest but it remains self-interested nonetheless.

Confusing selfishness for love, the Proclamation has only inspired a movement denying human rights to a vulnerable minority. What is it about the LDS phenomenon that its leaders cannot do without scapegoating somebody?

Should I even bother getting on my soap box and give "Helmut" what-for? Or would it all be in vain? Get a grip!

Sarah, you are fantastic! I bet you made some in that room really think about what they had been doing by heedlessly criticizing all these groups of people. And, I bet others were so relieved that finally someone was voicing the concerns that they were too scared to bring up.

Brava! Don't stop talking in class. Reading your post almost makes me want to go back to Sunday school (I've been taking a sabbatical for the last couple of months.) If I knew someone like you were going to be there, I definitely would go back.

There are so many points of depth in these comments. There IS a place for everyone here (within the faith of the Church of Jesus Christ). Those who think that it is for a cirtain kind of mold-fitting person are mistaken. We see through Christ's example tolerance and forgivness over and over again. Many times forgivness needs to be given by us to those in our wards for being so...well, you know.

The thing that I can relate to in your blog is the ups and downs one has within thier own "spiritual well." I have noticed that when you're down, you can't depend on a church meeting to refill your cup. Some real, and I mean REAL, spriritual feasting can take place within the walls of your own home, car, bed, closet...There are so many places to research truth--read the GA talks for starters, so many hours to kneel in prayer and wait for the answers and the peace to come. You will be stronger and lighter than ever before.

Word to your mother Britt Freakin'

Jess,

I respect your right to disagree with me. If you think that I am wrong, surely, you should be able to justify your position in terms of reasons. Don't you realize that your rather personal remarks only confirm the validity of my argument?

Hellmut, I was fuming after I read your remarks Sunday morning. But when I got to church, not long after, a letter was read reminding us to be more generous and to reach out to our community in the coming year. I know that we are a church that reaches out...the list is long. Trust me, I've made many a hygene kit that ended up in the hands of tsunami and hurricane victims.

Hi Jess,

Thanks for your service. I agree with you that the members are great. In the absence of financial disclosure, however, we don't know if the organization is equally generous.

In Britain, all non-profits are required to disclose their finances. You can download the LDS financial statement as pdf document from the British Charity Commission here. It turns out that only .2% of tithing proceeds go to poverty relief and humanitarian relief. Even if one includes dedicated contributions, the total share of the budget is still below 3%.

There are a lot of groups and many churches that sacrifice a lot more for the poor than we do.

But even if we did exemplary work for the poor that still wouldn't justify a theology that confuses parents' interest in their children for altruism and pushes a political agenda that drives our gay and lesbian children into suicide.

So are you LDS?

Whether you are or aren't, don't you think that it is important to teach our children, love our children, and do everything we possibly can for our children?

I have to say that I agree to a point with Hellmut. The proclamation is VERY political and honestly, from the first time I read it it didn't sit right with me. It blatently leaves a huge chunk of people out. I can't believe that Heavenly Father would do that. I think our church is HIGHLY discrimitory to gays. My husband and I have talked about how we would handle our child choosing a homosexual lifestyle. His sentiment is the same as my own: we just love them and hope for the best for them. I want only the best for my (hypothetical at this point) children, but I will honor their free agency and love them no matter what they choose. That perhaps was the best lesson I learned from my own mother who had some serious "problem children."

Members of the church are highly unforgiving of people who have "visable sins" or choose something a little or a lot different than the norm. I cannot, and will not stand for that. I don't think the Heavenly Father I know would want me to.

Your place? You are right where you belong. You give hope to those of us with those visible sins. those of us who also want a place to be but our peg doesn't quite fit in the Morman Peg Board. In regards to that you know what I think we should do? Pull out the wood working tools and my our hole fit us!! This is what you did on Sunday, you let people know that there is much more to look at in this world. The way you feel is why I have not gone back (that and my husband threatened to divorce me) But you give me hope that when I do return I will find someone just like you who will open thier arms and hold me and my two children from two different dads and love us because we are children of God and will overlook the imperfections. I iwsh more poeple were like you, if they were maybe there would be more Mormans.

Sarah, I think that your children will be very lucky.

Jess, it does not matter who or what I am. Though unlike most people, I do disclose my identity openly. What matters is whether my words make sense or not.

I agree with you that it is important that folks take care of their children. That does not make us holy, however.

Long before Sting, the Mormon scientist and inventor of stereo recording, Harvey Fletcher observed famously: "The Russians love their children too." The Russians loved their children even though they were officially godless.

Christ taught that those, who only love their own, are no better than the heathen. People of every kind and persuasion love their own children. It takes a lot of effort but it is nothing special.

We don't need the gospel to learn to love our children. Even though child rearing requires metabolic altruism (parenting individuals have to share food and other material resources with their off-spring), we remain genetically invested in our children. At the genetic level, child rearing is a matter of self-interest rather than altruism.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World misunderstands the self-interested act of parenting as selflessness and, may be, even the ultimate purpose of life. By contrast, Christ taught us in the Sermon of the Mount that we are to love those who are least like ourselves. As Christians our love needs to extend even to our enemies.

Confusing egoism for altruism, it is little wonder that the agenda of the LDS Church has become one of discrimination. The spade of referenda that deny my friends civil and human rights are an implication of The Proclamation. This implication is abusive because the premise is bad theology.

And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.(Gen. 2)

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.(Matt. 19)



Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.(1 peter 3)

Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.(1 Cor. 11)

IN the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;

And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.(D&C 131)

And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man.
Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation;(D&C 49)

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.(D&C 132)

It's not just the LDS church that say's a marriage and family should be between a man and a woman. The family proclamation is not a political statment to the world from the LDS chruch. It is the teachings of God the Father and his son Jesus Christ.

I will be away from my computer, and wanted to be sure that my 'silence' was not mistaken for me being a coward or backing down. I do not enjoy 'debate' nor do I seek it out. But I feel it necessary to mention that I was not raised with ANY form of prejudice, not in our home and certainly, CERTAINLY not at church.

I was raised to love the neighbor, love the enemy, and to keep God's commandments. I am far from perfect, by I strive to do what is right and to love one another.

I do not pat myself on the back when I read scriptures with my children or stay consistent with family prayer, but will continue to do so and I am delighted that we have the opportunity to include other neighborhood children in our morning prayer.

By the way, did you check your financial statistics for the church welfare system, the bishop's storehouse, church employment etc., because I am certain that those were not included in your %?

I hate it when I get up on the soap box. It's just not me. Not it's not! =)

Jess, I never meant you personally. I believe that you are a gentleman (or gentlewoman) with honorable motives and intentions.

I deeply regret any impression to the contrary and wish you a merry Christmas!

Yours, Hellmut

I find it interesting that you would quote Matthew 19. In verse 12, Christ teaches:

"Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom og heaven. Whoever can accept this ouught to accept it."

First, the Savior's understanding of sex and marriage is evidently more complex than Smith's in D&C 132.

Second, if you look at the context then it becomes clear that Matthew nineteen is about women's rights. Christ prohibits that men abandon their wives, which meant usually the women's ruin. He is neither condemning homosexuality nor celebrating monogamy as a supremely virtuous institution.

More importantly, the point about The Proclamation is not that marriage is bad but that parental self-interest in their children is not Christlike love and that policies that deny equal rights and drive our children into suicide do not reflect gospel values.

Yes, Matthew 19, is about a woman’s wrights & the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

Matthew 19, 12
For there are some eunuchs, (meaning a castrated man or a man that has nonfunctioning testes.) which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

My interpretation of this scripture is different the yours.

What is your interpretation?

Read the scripture how it is written, it needs no translation. You have obviously translated it with your options and emotions interjected into it to suit your train of thought.

I have nothing against the individual homosexual and I’m not saying that they can’t love a child. I believe that marriage is ordained from God between a man and a woman. I believe that homosexuality is a choice and God gave us free agency to make choices. I do not discriminate against homosexual people. I know many and work with many. I disagree with the lifestyle. I am not trying to change your beliefs nor are you going to change mine. Let’s agree to disagree.

We can agree to disagree.

However, I am perfectly willing to change my position in the face of arguments that rely on logic and evidence.

The fact is that Christ said that not everyone will be married. He also described sex and gender in a manner that is much more diverse than the Proclamation. The Savior even said that some people do not marry for heaven's sake. That means that one can be a better servant of God outside of marriage.

Clearly, Christ is much more understanding than LDS culture and LDS leaders.

Since you are concerned about bigotry, let me point out that language about "the homosexual lifestyle" indicates a troubling lack of reflection. Homosexuality is not a matter of choice, like a lifestyle. One might be able to choose to be a biker or a skate boarder. Some of us might live by the conventions of the baby boomers, others as gen-exers. Aristocrats have a lifestyle. There might be different lifestyles in New York and in Alabama.

Homosexuality, however, occurs within every human culture and lifestyle. Rich and poor, hunter and gatherers and post-industrial societies all have homosexuality.

More importantly, homosexuality has been observed among several primate species, including chimpanzees and bonobos. Census observations among mammal, bird, and reptile populations have consistently found that ten percent of individuals pursue sex with the same sex (under conditions of overpopulation that share goes up).

The concept of lifestyle, which implies alternatives in the sense of choice, cannot account for different sexual orientation. Referring to homosexuality as a lifestyle belittles people other than ourselves and is thus an aggressive act.

I do agree with you that people need to take responsibility for their choices. That ought to include their chosen beliefs and the implications or consequences of those beliefs.

Those who propagate beliefs that deny others the opportunity to ever enjoy sex legitimately, ought to realize that they are causing a lot of pain and suffering. Pain, which the believers impose on others rather than themselves. That is an act of discrimination; one that hurts so much that some gay LDS children see no way out but to commit suicide.

Hellmutt,

I have often heard the "10%" cited but I don't have any credible sources for believing it in human surveys. Do you know of any?

Regarding the issue of the relative charity of acts done within vs. without family, of course the first response is to say leave neither neglected. There is a family emphasis in the church, although I think saying that this is a confusion of altruism with self-interest is quite a stretch (it looks good on paper, but I doubt it actually works that way in reality). I would say that one benefit of an emphasis on family love is that it reminds us that, if nothing else, we should love and embrace these people, no matter how much we may personally find them distasteful. I would even argue that an emphasis on family love would put a dent on your LDS homosexual teen suicide statistics faster than an emphasis on outward charity (although, perhaps, each of our options here should reinforce the other).

You are right that we can and probably should be doing more (although, this is almost always the case). I wonder where the LDS church stacks up against other denominations in terms of amount and percentage and also I am curious how the numbers stack up when you include the humanitarian fund and the fast offering fund. I do find it interesting that you chose to compare tithing, which isn't particularly earmarked for charitable works. I am not convinced that you made the best comparison, but I am willing to assume for the moment that your tithing statistics reflect a general trend (at least, until someone who can understand the statistics you cited posted differently)). We should as members do more.

Finally, I find it odd that you find a kind of universal acceptance of all sexual preference coming out of the mouth of a 1st century Jew. I admit that he may have been a bit Hellenized, but I don't think that we have any reason to believe that it extended to sexual behavior. He does seem to be saying that celebacy is preferable to anything other than married monogamy though, so I don't know if I see your point.

Sarah,
I really appreciated your post. It reminded me of a moment when I was I reminded on why I love my wife. She said what needed to be said in a Sunday School once (in this case, the question was should non-eagle scouts be allowed on missions). You are a good egg; please move to my ward as we need more like you. I am sorry about the odd little threadjack that has taken place on your post.

Hellmut,

I realize that I mis-spelled your name. I am sorry about that.

Sarah, enjoyed this post. Hope you find more time and peace.

Helmut, what is it about your blogging phenomenon that you can't joint a post without scapegoating somebody and especially the LDS church?

That sort of threadjack, over and over again, tends to wear.

Yeah, you go, Sarah. I am so with you.

Awhile back a teacher was really hitting on Democrats and it bothered me. I'm not any party, but it bothered me.

Finally I spoke up and said that I believed in the party system and thought it was good for our country and there were good and bad people in both parties. The teacher was silent for a second and in that silence, someone said, "thank you."

I later learned there were a few Democrats sitting there. But you know I have to wonder, why didn't they speak up? If somebody was trashing something I believed in, I would have been all over them. How sad that we are afraid to speak up.

Sarah, we need more people like us in this church.

Helmut, "clearly Christ was more understanding of LDS leaders...etc. however you put it." Give me a break. Clearly, Christ is more understanding than anybody.

Like He's more understanding than my bishop but on par with the Catholic priest? Or the gay rights activist? or that Decker guy? Or Billy Graham? or anybody who isn't Mormon?

Being LDS doesn't mean being insensitive or unkind. I resent your implications and I resent your criticism of the Proclamation. I wish I could remember the name of that guy who did a lot of work with the UN, where those countries, regardless of religion, were so grateful for the Proclamation. I'll try to research it.

Plus, you changed the subject.

Hellmut, you're awesome. I wish I could get my point across like you. I feel the same way, but seldom can verbalize it as you can.

Not to disparage the comments of Wendy or of others who find common cause or worth in Hellmut's comments, but I do find it interesting that Hellmut has managed irritate both Stephen M and annegb here, two of the most unflappable of the Bloggernacle's denizens. Also, I enjoy Schadenfreude.

Sorry for being petty (although, not sorry enough to not post the comment) and still sincerely sorry for misspelling Hellmut's name (I read it enough, you'd think I would get it right).

Actually, I am quite flappable. I annoy easily. Stephen doesn't, which made me take note more than I might have and I agreed with his point.

Helmut, I think it does make a difference where you're coming from. I would tend to be more bothered if you are a Mormon disparaging your own faith than another religion. Were you a Catholic, you might reasonably take exception to an LDS prophet telling you what is truth.

Not that that detracts from the truthfulness of his statement.

It is true, I think, that the Proclamation has political implications and I think that is necessary in today's world. I am still looking for that reference. They made a videotape of their--what, quest--in the language in a UN resolution. It was quite stunning.

Helmut, my e-mail is gardnera@netutah.com. I would like to send you the reference so I can avoid further thread jacking.
Heck, we could be friends, you never know.

I believe the topic was speaking up for truth in church meetings. I again applaud you, Sarah. Even if I disagreed, I would applaud. I do not think our meetings need to be a place of dissension; however, I think we have erred too much in avoiding dissension that sometimes we listen to crap just because it's coming from the teacher or our bishop, who are just as human as we are.

We cannot grow if we are afraid to ask a question or voice an opinion.

I remember sitting in Relief Society and the president telling us about a family planning center and that she had a, oh, crap, what do you call those things, petition!, against it, and she stated specifically that she wanted us all to sign it. I didn't sign it and she got mad at me. I wasn't sure how I felt. I caved and signed it and regretted it ever since.

It takes courage to speak up, sometimes we can even be wrong, but I believe strongly that God wants courageous children who stand up for what they believe.

If I keep this up, we can change the name of the blog to my name.

But oh well. Helmut, his name is Richard Wilkins. If you put it in google, you will find tons of info on how the proclamation affected UN conferences on the family and how positively it was received world wide. Political, yes. Bad? no. What this guy did is really stunning and little known. We should talk about it more.

Again, reverting to the subject, Helmut, if you think the proclamation is too political and you said that in Sunday School, I would stand up loud and proud in your favor and support your right to say it. Although I would not agree.

Sarah,

So many of us have had those moments, where you want to jump out of your maroon-colored chair and scream at the room. Most of us stay quiet. I was in awe of the few people I ever heard (actually, I can only think of one) who ever said anything.

And in case you ever consider it, "walking away" from the church is NOT easy. Having spent some time trying to overlook the "culture", and also having finally walked away, it is my opinion that walking away is very difficult.

One thing the LDS Church should be very careful of is this: When sending out missionaries, a concerted effort should be placed on the sexual orientation of this person. One LDS missionary sent to our city was a well known lesbian and proceeded to break up my family and bring me and my money into the church. Needless to say, it worked for a couple of years and then I saw the "Light" and proceeded to move away from the list of lies I had been told. One lie was, "Don't give any food or anything to anyone that is not Mormon". My anwer to that is "What Would Jesus Do?" He would turn over the money changers tables in the temple, that's what!

Out of the Church and Lovin' It!

Too much is made of Joseph Smith and Emma Smith. Rarely do you hear a Mormon even say Jesus Christ Our Savior, it is always, Joseph Smith and hymns written and sung to him. He is not my Savior! After Sacrament, I hear women in RS talk ungodly about other women. Personally, I don't want any part of this Mormon Machine, it will roll right over the top of you if you don't do as they want you to.

Returning to a sane religion? You Bet!

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AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I AM SORRY I EVER BECAME A MORMON....it really did sound like a good idea at the time...but I am who I am...i cannot live their way....

Brigham Young preached that Mormonism accepts truth from whatever source it comes. I'm sure he also understood that Mormonism rejects falsehoods, or the opposite of truth, from whatever source they come. And that's true whether it comes from a bishop, a Sunday School teacher, or even a general authority. One should never base their faith upon false precepts. A false precept that is commonly taught as truth in the LDS church is that general authorities can never lead one astray, in other words, that general authorities are infallible. If you base your faith on a false precept, your faith can be shaken if you realize that precept is false. Thus, those who criticize Mormonism often do their best to find fault with things that church leaders do or say, particular conflicting statements. Hear this clearly: Humans make mistakes and are prone to err. That includes general authorities, EVEN the president of the church. If a leader makes an incorrect statement, it should not rock your faith to reject that statement. That's why you have a conscience. Trust your conscience. Don't let others attempt to make you feel guilty by pressuring you into accepting falsehoods, such as the infallibility of the prophet. The only prophet who did not make human errors was Jesus Christ. In case you're wondering, my faith in the doctrines of the church is unshakeable. I don't include in my list of beliefs every obscure statement made by any past president of the church. To make it simple, I rely on the 13 articles of faith, particularly on No. 4. If you ever feel your faith waning, rely on No. 4 -- and go back to doing the things that gave you faith to begin with, such as reading the scriptures, praying and doing what is right. And what is right? Your conscience will tell you, but it means being in the right place at the right time, doing what you ought to be doing. Do not worry what others might think. The only thing that counts is what you do and say and think. There's nothing wrong with speaking your mind -- just realize that you also are human and prone to making mistakes.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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