Tiananmen Square

When the portion of the LDS Handbook was leaked, many members of the church assumed it was a hoax. Obviously the church would never do something so crazy, right? When it was proven to be legitimate, they did an about-face and began passionately justifying the policies.

This is a perfect demonstration of cognitive dissonance. When presented with two conflicting beliefs—Action A is wrong, but trusted Person B says to support it—the mind experiences internal tension that requires a change in beliefs. In this case, members of the church changed the first cognition—Action A, labelling same-sex marriages “apostate” and barring children of same-sex couples from baptism, is wrong. Now they believe it is justified, and even moral.

This cognitive adjustment came because they felt duty-bound to sustain the brethren. Some went beyond mere support and began drawing lines in the sand between them and “the chaff,” without worrying that the line divided families and friends.

Now, I do believe that this comes from a misplaced sense of loyalty and—dare I say?—love. To a Latter-day Saint, love of God, love of family, social structure, and overall well-being is wrapped up into one package deal. To get the complete package, members must be obedient (first law of heaven, right?). With the huge emphasis on living prophets, this obedience is channeled toward the leaders of the church.

But does true love, or even true obedience to God require Latter-day Saints to stand by EVERY word published by the Brethren, no matter how incorrect or detrimental? [a chorus of true believers shouts “YES!”]

No. No it doesn’t.  Here’s a little secret—the Brethren themselves don’t even stand by EVERY word spoken by the Brethren. So if salvation depends on owning up to every ugly policy and every ill-word, all Latter-day Saints are already screwed.

Here’s an example: When the Saints emigrated to Utah, Brigham Young began teaching the Adam-God doctrine. The basic premise of this doctrine is that Adam was an exalted, resurrected man who came to earth with one of his wives, Eve. Adam, as taught by Brigham Young, is the Father of our spirits, the physical Father of Jesus Christ, and “the only God with whom we have to do” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, pg. 51).

Keep in mind, this wasn’t an obscure little theory in the back of Brigham’s mind. This was something he taught openly at General Conference. In fact, the Adam-God doctrine was even incorporated into the temple endowment, where it was taught in the “lecture at the veil.” With the exception of Orson Pratt and perhaps a few others, this doctrine was accepted and taught by the leaders of the church.

If someone tried to convince you today that Adam is God the Father, you’d just laugh. But from Brigham Young until Wilford Woodruff, it was accepted as doctrine. After all, THE PRESIDENT OF THE CHURCH—you know, the guy who cannot lead the church astray—was teaching it as irrefutable truth.

So why don’t Mormons pray to Adam today? Was it because the brethren received a revelation that clarified the doctrine? Was it because they changed the Handbook? No, it was because the members said, “We don’t buy it.”

One member in particular, Bishop Edward Bunker, took a strong stand against the doctrine. In the 1890s, Bishop Bunker stood trial before a high council for his refusal to teach the Adam-God doctrine. Lucky for the Bishop, back in those days, the church actually gave some weight to the scriptures. So when Bishop Bunker used the scriptures to argue his point, the council was confounded. Eventually, his arguments were heard by the President of the Church, Wilford Woodruff.

In short, Bishop Bunker was called to repentance for contradicting the Brethren, but was not excommunicated. However, about 10 years after the ordeal, the Adam-God doctrine was quietly removed from the endowment ceremony, and was generally taught less and less among the ranks of the church.

It is impossible to say whether Bishop Bunker’s courageous stand actually changed the minds of the brethren or not. But we can be certain that history has vindicated Bishop Bunker. In 1976, President Spencer W. Kimball told the saints,

“We warn you against the dissemination of doctrines which are not according to the scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations. Such, for instance, is the Adam-God theory. We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine.”

Ignoring his use of the words, “alleged” and “theory,” it is clear that the Church now adamantly opposes the Adam-God doctrine. So who was right—the lowly, rank-and-file Bishop, or at least three presidents of the church, sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators? Point goes to Bishop Bunker!

Was he out of line? Should he have just sustained his leaders and not said anything? The explanation seems clear to me—Bishop Bunker cared about truth more than he cared about institutions. Bishop Bunker’s loyalty was to his God, not to God’s servants.

Now, I don’t subscribe to the Bishop’s religion, but I do admire that kind of integrity. It is a difficult thing to take an unpopular but moral stance, especially when it’s against those who claim to have authority over your eternal well-being.

Some people erroneously think that the great test of the “last days” will be to see if they are loyal to church leaders, even if it means foregoing their own conscience and intellect. This would be a good test if God were only interested in breeding a generation of sycophants.

If Heavenly Father were really interested in making gods of us, I imagine a much better test would be to see if we will follow our conscience and intellect even, and especially, if it meant going against those who claim to speak for him.

Now, I’m quicker than the LDS church to throw Brigham under the bus (and that’s really saying something), but this quote from him should get Latter-day Saints thinking:

“Now those men, or those women, who know no more about the power of God, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, than to be led entirely by another person, suspending their own understanding, and rinning their faith upon another’s sleeve, will never be capable of entering into the celestial glory, to be crowned as they anticipate; they will never be capable of becoming Gods. They cannot rule themselves, to say nothing of ruling others, but they must be dictated to do in every trifle, like a child. They cannot control themselves in the least, but James, Peter, or somebody else must control them. They never can become Gods, nor be crowned as rulers with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. They never can hold scepters of glory, majesty, and power in the Celestial Kingdom” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, pg. 312).

Or how about this quote from Elder Charles W. Penrose?

“And none are required to tamely and blindly submit to a man because he has a portion of the priesthood. We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark, that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God… would spite the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without asking any questions. When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to people, it is generally because they have it in their minds to do wrong themselves” (Millennial Star, vol. 14, no. 38, pg. 593-595).

Sorry to burst the bubble, but the church can and definitely has made mistakes. Yes, that includes the prophet. That includes the handbook. That includes official statements from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. Sometimes their mistakes really, deeply hurt people and families.

I’m not black, so I cannot imagine the pain that I would have experienced being told by prophets, seers, and revelators that I was less valiant in the premortal existance, that I was the seed of Cain, that interracial marriage was against the doctrine of the church and would mean death on the spot, that I could not hold the priesthood, and that my family could not be sealed together.

The church now disavows all of its former racist rhetoric, but they once stood firmly by it. The members who opposed the church were marginalized, ostracized, and even disciplined. The reactions by the “loyal” members were the same that we have seen this week. They accused the outspoken of being unfaithful and disloyal. They made excuses about how the race policy was actually merciful to the blacks. They wore their bigotry like a badge of courage.

groupthink-candles-executing-a-light-bulb

Today, history has vindicated the dissenters, not the loyalists. But members of the church won’t remember that. Instead, they’ll keep sharing memes from Harold B. Lee about how the teachings of the church may contradict your social and political views, forgetting that Harold B. Lee was the man who, out of his own prejudice, prevented the priesthood ban from being lifted for many years.

Members will keep praising the leaders, while the real heroes, the Bishop Bunkers, the Sterling McMurrins, the Lowry Nelsons, and the Stewart Udalls remain unsung.

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich coined the phrase, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” That’s true of well-behaved Mormon women too. The people who really make history are not the ones who bow their heads and say “yes,” who defend the institution at all costs, and who care more about public relations than interpersonal empathy. The people who make history are the ones who defended the innocent, who stood up against tyranny, and who sacrificed their name and standing to do what they felt was right.

poem

Now let me say this once—I don’t care if people want to be members of the church or not. I respect the rights of everyone to believe as they wish. It is not my intent to “deconvert” all my Mormon friends and family.

What I want is for people to think for themselves. You don’t HAVE to agree with the brethren. Just because you love someone or something does not mean you have to approve of everything they do. If you believe that prophets have made mistakes in the past, then you better believe that prophets can make mistakes today! And don’t be ashamed of calling them mistakes either.

There is nothing wrong with valuing people over policies. There is nothing wrong with placing conscience over corporation. There is nothing wrong treasuring family over faith.

History will vindicate the dissidents—those who are compassionate and conscientious. How will history remember you?



Tanner
Tanner
Tanner Gilliland is a writer, artist, and jazz hands enthusiast based in Salt Lake City, UT. Check out his art on Instagram: @tanner_gilliland, his jokes on Twitter: @tgilliland789, and his poverty on Venmo: Tanner-Gilliland
  • Michelle Henich

    I just submitted my resignation via Chubs Gato. I may not be popular, but I am one proud human rights, animal rights, and environmental activist. I know by experience that losing one’s friends and relatives in exchange for doing right by the world isn’t easy. Thank goodness there are dissidents. If we don’t stand up for others, who will be there to stand up for us?

    • Mickey

      My friends and relatives all know I’m an atheist. I haven’t lost any of them. You’re a martyr in search of persecution.

      • Ghostworm

        That’s a little presumptuous to think that everybody else’s experience is no different than your own. It’s good that your family and friends have responded so well to your beliefs. Not everyone is so fortunate.

        • Mickey

          People who look for trouble are rarely disappointed.

          • Michelle Henich

            I wasn’t looking for trouble. I was trying to support my friends who were suffering.

          • Arwen Undomiel

            Sometimes you have to get dirty if you want to make things happen. Very few of us can stand by just looking when someone is being abused or bullied. Although, this may have changed and now people just care about themselves.

          • Mickey

            So you’re going to argue with Jesus? (If you don’t believe that’s what you’re doing then you’re not a Mormon.)

            They can believe whatever they wish. Your version of intolerance is no more noble than theirs.

          • Arwen Undomiel

            You are the one arguing with Jesus. Jesus said: “Let all the children come to me because to them belongs the Kingdom of heaven.”

            Maybe your mormon leaders are the ones arguing with Jesus but becasue you want to support them no matter what, then you just have to change the scriptures and what Jesus said, right? It feels better to believe these men speak for Jesus than to accept the truth.
            But if you want to know about Jesus is more accurate to read the bible than just believe what anybody else says, like these men. Are you ready to argue with Jesus and change this scripture to “let only the children of heterosexual couples come to me? Go on, follow on your leaders steps.

            Sent from my iPad

          • Mickey

            Apparently reading comprehension is not your strong suit. At no point did I say I agreed with what the Mormons did here. I don’t. And I’ve quoted that specific scripture.

            What I DID say is that if you aren’t a Mormon it’s not really any of your business. Intolerance is intolerance no matter the source. EVERYBODY thinks his own brand of intolerance is justified.

            If you ARE a Mormon then you’d never argue the policy because you believe that Jesus is personally calling the shots.

            So what’s the point of bickering about it?

            I’m an ATHEIST. But thanks for playing.

          • Arwen Undomiel

            Maybe I misunderstood some of your comments. I don’t see why you took so long to clarify this since so far, until now, you seemed to defend the Mormon leadership and their policy. I can’t care less if you are mormon or apostate. Anybody can and has the right to express their opinions on every subject and criticize as much as they want. Maybe this is too hard for you to comprehend.
            Anyway, something I am not wrong about, after reading your comments, is that mean is your thing, and I am using this word just to be nice. If you like to talk to people like that, I assume you don’t mind when people talk to you the same way. I don’t appreciate false politeness, so there is no need for you to thank me for playing. It is obvious you are not a nice person. Please continue being your own authentic meanie.

            Sent from my iPad

          • Mickey

            I didn’t “clarify” because the truth is the truth no matter who says it.

            Mormons believe that Christ is personally the head of their church, and is calling the shots. For them to argue policy would obviously be absurd.

            If you DON’T believe that then you have no dog in the fight.

            I think their new policy is outrageous. But my outrage is my business. Because I am TOLERANT I limit my outrage to a little grumbling. What they believe is not my problem.

            Remember when “tolerance” was a thing? You’ll notice that liberals stopped using that word about two years ago, right on cue. It was bizarre.

            You have the right to criticize all you want. Ironically, you don’t afford ME the same right. I think you’re a knucklehead and a busybody who needs to learn TOLERANCE. You’re not going to change what Mormons believe, and I can’t begin to imagine why you want want to.

          • Arwen Undomiel

            You don’t get it right? I afforded you already the right to criticize me when I accepted that I may have misunderstood your comments. Remember that? That is tolerance.
            In fact, I am so tolerant that I accept the possibility of me being dumb and stupid. I have no problem with that. I am tolerant with others and specially, I am tolerant with myself. This is the reason I give myself permission to say what I think. And this is the reason I know everyone has the right to voice their opinions even if they are mormon or not. You however said non mormons have no business in this matter.
            You think I am a busybody and knuckle head. Good. I don’t care if you are mormon or apostate. I make time to read your opinion. I also think you are the one that needs to learn tolerance of everyone being able to give their opinion the same way you do. And I think you are right. I get into any business that I want, just like you, meany.
            Sent from my iPad

          • Mickey

            Your version of intolerance is pure and noble. I get it. You’ve made that very clear, Mother Theresa. Go save the world.

          • Arwen Undomiel

            You go on and continue to be a meany.

            Sent from my iPad

          • Bob Smith

            Tolerance is a paradox. Should you tolerate intolerable behavior? And who’s to say that something is intolerable — usually it’s the victim or the loved ones of the victim, right? In any case, to talk about it like you know what it actually means is pretty much useless.

            And to say “live and let live” is all well and good, I’m glad it works for you. But some people (like “Tax Nerd” and his/her friends) are still being seriously affected by the Mormon church, so they are still thrust into situations where they have to make choices that cut one way or the other. To minimize that is to minimize the human experience as well as making you look like a total d-bag (which you were very successful at from what I can tell)

          • marycat

            you’re the one, No, you’re the one, No, you’re the one……..ad infinitum. Who wins? No one

          • Mosiah Degrasse-Tyson

            I want to make it clear that “Mickey” doesn’t speak for all atheists here. In fact I’m pretty sure the majority of us would appreciate it if he’d stop posting it in bold as if his opinion is shared by us all.

          • marycat

            oh, gives us a break!

          • marycat

            Time to grow up.. There is no proof that Jesus of Nazarath ever existed let alone a race of white and delightsome ancestors on this continent. Try studying something other than the bible.

      • Michelle Henich

        I am hardly a martyr. I chose to be public about my support of gay marriage in support of my numerous gay friends. My sisters and brother and several friends chose to disown me due to my activism. I have no control over their reactions. I did not seek to alienate. They were the ones that told me that I was deceived by the devil and that they cut ties with me because of their beliefs. My parents were reasonable and said that hey love me no matter what. Not everyone reacts that way. Stop putting labels on people, or they will start putting labels on you.

        • Mickey

          If you are a Mormon then you believe that the Creator of the World is literally the head of the Church, and is calling the shots. Arguing would be pretty foolish.

          If you don’t believe that then you’re not a Mormon, and you don’t have a dog in the fight. Mind your own business.

          I don’t understand the ones who insist that they can campaign for change in the Church, any more than I understand the ex-Mormons who feel the need for “support.” If you’re scared, go to church.

          WHO CARES how other people react? No doubt some have reacted negatively to me as well, but because I DON’T CARE I don’t notice them.

          Leaving the Church was easy. I stopped going. End of process. What they believe or don’t believe is of no consequence to me.

          The opinions of others are only as important as you want them to be.

          • Mickey

            By the way, I’m opposed to gay marriage on the grounds that marriage is none of the government’s business, and I object to social engineering. Whether or not they marry is none of my business, and I don’t care.

          • Mosiah Degrasse-Tyson

            Very true, it’s not the governments place to define what commitments people can and can’t make to each other. They should just stay out of it altogether.

          • Ms_Woozah

            This is probably more heartless than a lot of things I read on Facebook these past two days. Congrats!!

          • Mickey

            Logic often seems that way. What part of it do you specifically disagree with, and why? Present a reasoned, rational argument.

          • Ms_Woozah

            seriously?? ok, how about the part where she said her family disavowed her and the sum of your response was “who cares.” i would only have to justify why that is heartless to a sociopath.

          • Michelle Henich

            I submitted my resignation because I have a conscience and no longer want to be associated with a group that I was born into. I have been inactive for 7 years now. I have several friends that are Mormon AND gay. My niece at BYU is one of them. So is my best friend. If they aren’t enough cause for me to raise my voice then I don’t know what is. By the way, if you are an atheist and seem to have no friends in the LGBTQ community then what are you doing here? Where is your dog in the fight? Oh, I get it. Every message board needs a douchebag to troll the place…. That’s why you’re here.

          • Jaasiel Rodriguez

            You’re wrong, and you are promoting a serious falsehood inside of mormonism. The fact is that many people have these doubts and worries, and they feel they have to bend their conscience to what they are taught. However, by virtue of the sustaining process at general conference, there is a way of standing up and challenging the system. The reality is that latter-day saints can oppose, and NOBODY can tell them no. If latter day saints force the topic, they can make that part of general conference and stake conferences relevant again. No one, not even latter day saints that disagree with them, has the power to define the meaning of that event. If they so choose, they can challenge it through that simple event. There is no precise definition or precedent for what it means for a large portion of latter day saints to stand up in general conference in disagreement to who is called. If these activists can get that in the heads of those latter day saints who feel some thing is wrong, then that aspect of the religion can be brought to light. The question is courage.

          • marycat

            Ha! How many times have you seen someone stand up and speak his mind in general Conference?

    • Arwen Undomiel

      I personally think this new policy calls for a new massive resignation. It’s the perfect time to tell it like it is. Because if they can make up whatever rules they want, we can also make decisions ourselves to do what ever we want, just like them.

      I just wish we could have the biggest massive resignation of all. Yeah, like a big party with music, rainbow flags, drag queens, dancing, balloons, the TV news broadcasting and why not invite The New York Times, and more. I guess money would be needed and lots of organizing. This would be my dream come true. And in the end, a petition signed by everyone to create a new holiday called ” Mormon Massive Resignation Day”, that we would celebrate every year in November to commemorate and support the victims of this infamous policy.

      • marycat

        A dream note likely to come true.

  • Josh DeFriez

    An ironic picture, as the 1989 Tiananmen dissidents were completely squashed and the Party now has even tighter control in China. Loved the article and I don’t disagree–but the picture was too ironic not to say anything 😉

  • velhoburrinho

    I loved this quote, it reminds me of the apologists, especially Stephen O. Smoot.

    “Some people erroneously think that the great test of the “last days” will be to see if they are loyal to church leaders, even if it means foregoing their own conscience and intellect. This would be a good test if God were only interested in breeding a generation of sycophants.”

  • Dingus O’Malley

    Did you think to pray? The funny thing about all the uproar is no one is confirming they prayed about it and got the answer that the church is wrong. Seriously, this is a bunch of spoiled kids wanting ice cream for breakfast and throwing a tantrum when dad says no.

    • mirele

      There are some things you can pray about.

      Bigoted policies which have and will elicit an “oh NO!” from people are not among them.

    • Jean-Luc

      Some of us asked the same thing of church leaders about blacks and the priesthood. When they finally decided to pray about it in 1978, they finally heard what God had been telling us for decades- but they refused until that year. Many of us ask the same thing about church leaders today in regards to female ordination and lgbt issues. Maybe someday they will ask God rather than stick to their heard-hearted agenda.

      • Mickey

        Or perhaps God doesn’t agree with you.

        Of course, as an atheist I believe that God will always agree with everything you say, since you made him up in your head anyway.

        Humans have always used “answers to prayers” to justify whatever they feel like doing.

        • Jean-Luc

          Oh, you assume I haven’t evolved to atheism? Nothing like a life in Mormonism to lead one to the ultimate truth. My proclamation was geared towards Mormons so that they would challenge their leadership to actually claim that it is god handing down the policy, but they never do. Even an old fart like me can see beyond childish nonsense.

    • Arwen Undomiel

      There Is something called comon sense and sensibility. There is no need to get a revelation every time to know something is wrong. I personally didn’t feel the peace and quiet confirmation of the Holy Ghost telling me it is ok to create policies that discriminate gays and their children. If you don’t agree, it’s your right to do so. But it is also your responsibility to handle things like a mature adult.

      instead of throwing a temper tantrum yourself, you could try to maturely respect the opinions of others that disagree with you. Instead of minimizing the validity of their arguments by comparing them to little children, you could be respectful. Who is the child here? Was the answer to your prayer to minimize people’s opinions? Maybe you need to pray a little more until you remember to love your neighbor.

      • Swagavad Gita

        Jesus said to love one another, so I don’t get why people are saying otherwise, ya know?

        • Arwen Undomiel

          Yes, I don’t get it either. It’s simple like that. We need to accept each other. We need to accept same sex marriage couples are families. One single mother and her child are a family too. A couple with no children are a family. And we all living on this earth together, sharing public transportation, the streets, public places, we are all a family too. But we insist in treating each other unkindly.

          This policy just hurts people, it hurts all of us, not only the LGBT a community. This policy creates separation among families, among church members and in the community. The only that benefit from this policy is the leadership, not the members.
          We have the right to talk about this if we want. We don’t need to apologize to no one for speaking up. I hope all of us takes action in the areas we live to protest this crap.

          Sent from my iPad

    • k_space

      I like your comment, because you started with the bottom line. Once all the apologist arguments are shown to be fallacious, misleading, or based on falsehoods, this is ultimately all faithful members have to retreat to. “Well, just pray about it. The holy ghost will show you what is right.” What a terrible thing it is to base your opinion on emotions rather than feedback from the real world. Every religion ever describes their mutually contradictory answers to prayers in the same way.

      The pope is willing to let kids of gay parents get baptized. Maybe he hasn’t been praying enough to get an answer from the real holy ghost.

      What about faithful members who disagree with the policy? Are you presumptuous enough to claim that none of them have been praying about this? Let me guess, “They must not have prayed, otherwise they would be at peace with the policy.”

  • Loran

    A cavalcade of vacuous ignorance, misrepresentation, and slipshod argument. Where to begin?

    No, the real question is, why bother?

    • Jean-Luc

      Ad hominem fallacy. Want to contribute any substance to your critique, or do you prefer the mindless head bowing and confirmation? Begin by reading the Journal of Discourses before you attempt to smear a well-argued statement by someone with a substantive argument. I’m sure you don’t have time to do the research though since there’s so much lesson prep to do from a filtered manual for tomorrow.

    • Arwen Undomiel

      What about you care about others when you see injustice? Does this sounds familiar? Of course it is easier just not to care about anything and no one, just care about ourselves like the world revolves around us. Isn’t that nice?

    • velhoburrinho

      Maybe your could get more creative, This looks like your boilerplate criticism when you can’t come up with anything intelligent.

      Forty years ago you would have been defending the churches doctorine on blacks in a similar way.

  • Mickey

    That gay marriage is considered “apostate” is not new. The idea that it ISN’T is new among many Christian sects.

  • Gabrielle Stanley Blair

    Twelve: We snuck a new policy into the handbook and didn’t tell you about it.

    Members: We don’t care what it is, we will defend it with our lives!

    Twelve: It’s a policy that will definitely increase suicide among members of the church — especially those who are gay.

    Members: Even if it kills thousands, we will defend it with our lives!

    Twelve: It’s a policy that sounds like the complete opposite of Christ’s teachings.

    Members: That’s okay, we trust whatever you say way more than Christ’s teachings, we’ll defend it with our lives!

    Twelve: It won’t make sense to you when you hear this policy. You’ll think you’re hearing it wrong or that you’ve read a mistake.

    Members: Don’t worry! If it’s from you, within minutes we’ll figure out a way to ignore every message from our souls that it’s wrong, and we’ll defend it with our lives!

    Twelve: We’re going to excuse this policy by telling people that it’s to “help the children” and that it will prevent paperwork.

    Members: That doesn’t even make sense at all, but we’ll defend it with our lives!

    Twelve: You can’t ask us about this new policy. There will be no press conference.

    Members: No problem! We will defend it with our lives!

    Twelve: This is an administrative policy. It is not doctrine and doesn’t relate to gospel principles. So you don’t need to pray about it’s truthfulness.

    Members: We’ll pray about it anyway! We’ll prove to everyone how righteous we are with our nonstop prayers about this. And no matter the answer to the prayer — even if there’s no response — we’ll defend it with our lives!

    Twelve: This policy is going to sound evil and wrong to you.

    Members: Well, technically we know you’re not perfect, but really, we think you ARE perfect! We basically worship you! So we’ll obey any policy you come up with and never think for a second that it might be evil. And that way, we have no responsibility for the evilness. If it turns out the policy is hurting people, it’s not our fault, we were just being obedient. So we’ll defend it with our lives!

  • christina

    for a guy who’s dead, he writes really well. died in 1963.

  • yankeefn2

    The most interesting part of this long drawn out diatribe is how ignorance and intelligence can sound so much the same.

  • MomOfFour

    I disagree with so much about this article. I want to share just some common sense that’s all…..

    There is something called custodial interference and it CAN fall this way….. if a kid had to say their parents lifestyle is sinful to obtain a baptism in the Mormon church those parents living a gay lifestyle can claim custodial interference and custody can change for that other side of the family and ultimately the child would be pulled in different directions that are unfair. I wish there was like a legal document that they could sign so when it came to baptism custodial interference would not be an issue and these kids would not have to suffer for parents issues. The church was pushed into a corner and says kids in that situation will just have to wait till they’re no longer kids to get baptized and we’ll all keep the peace. But now the Mormon church is counted as thebad guy. But i guess I’m just open to the possibility that this change is actually inspired council. Maybe just stand by your faith for more than a day and answers will come.

    • Jason Bryant

      But currently there is NO baptism question during the interview that even asks the child or adult’s belief on same sex marriage or relationships. There is a question on the law of chastity, but your reasoning is just as applicable to a child being baptized to parents who are unmarried.

      • MomOfFour

        The church has done things well in advance of MANY other issues in the past. Proclamation to the family, word of wisdom, countless many many different prophecies that have been much needed 10, 20 years down the road.

        • Bob Smith

          Word of wisdom: coincided with a general “temperance” movement at the time. Coincidence? Also, most lds don’t actually know what is in the word of wisdom. It actually doesn’t forbid beer (mild drinks) and specifically says it is not a commandment, if you didn’t know. Also, do you eat meat sparingly and only in times of winter?

          Proclamation on the family is nothing new or revelatory, just a distillation of lds beliefs about the family. If anything, it was reactionary in nature. The same sex marriage issue had been an open public policy debate for almost a decade at least https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Massachusetts .. Besides, all this focus on same sex marriage seems far less productive than focusing on helping people develop stable loving homes with a reasonable amount of income (studies and logic make it clear that it is unstable homes, not the genders of the parents, that actually matter when considering what will make for the best societal outcomes… So maybe we should focus on that instead?)

          As for your “countless” claim, I have actually investigated prophecies made by past leaders and they appear to fail almost all the time. If you want some examples, I can share some specifics. Those that don’t fail are too general so could be applied to any number of events. Unfortunately for the church, Joseph Smith and other prophets made a lot of specific prophesies that have all failed to materialize, which is another reason (on top of a mountain of others) to come to the conclusion that they aren’t legitimate prophets of God.

      • MomOfFour

        This website you has been created with only one mission in mind, that is to destroy the church. They don’t care about being balanced or fair but only to present the church in the worst possible manner. What they bring up is obviously only what they want you to believe and is not the most accurate. If you care, I will happily discuss the problems with the article point by point, but you should be aware that it is NOT accurate.
        Have prophets been wrong in the past? Yes, they have. However, most of what this site brings up are comments that are given by one man who taught contradicting principles on the subject, pretty much like they were publicly hashing out a theory. It was never doctrine as critics want you to believe nor was it a firm belief of BY. You have to realize that the church wasn’t as careful back then as they are now. Many fail-safes have been implemented in the church to prevent misinformation from being taught and spread. Instead of attempting to base the church’s belief off of an instance when someone speaking off the cuff, the Church has many people involved in decisions with much study and prayer to prevent incorrect principles from being taught. Most likely, there was an instance (or instances) that caused that this topic had to be addressed. You have to wonder why the Church whose sole mission is to bring people into it’s membership suddenly does just the opposite and goes against it’s purpose and excludes a very small group of people. They encourage *everyone* to join its ranks. This includes sinners of all types, people of every class, country, and social status. Why all of the sudden would they exclude innocent children? This is not something that would just come out of the blue, but there had to be a reason. So, most likely there was something that happened which brought this topic up (or there was talk of possible future legal problems which this policy would prevent). Correlation most likely penned the policy over much study and prayer. After it was put together it was then taken to the Prophet and Apostles who also took to much study and prayer in order to receive inspiration on whether to implement such huge policy change that would most likely cause a public uproar (which it has). After they received confirmation that it was what should happen, then they would give the go ahead to make the change.
        My understanding is that this hasn’t even been released yet. But wolves in sheeps clothing got a hold of it and sent it out to several anti-Mormon groups and people to disperse and contact media outlets in an attempt to make the church look bad. When something like this happens, the church trains the leaders on the new policy, it’s reasons and how to proceed in their callings. Anti-Mormons did not even give them time to do this and undercut any means of dealing with this properly and has sent mass hysteria through social media. The anti-Mormons have accomplished EXACTLY what they intended to do and people are feeding into it. I think *everyone* needs to take a step back, take a deep breath and calm down. We will know the what’s and why’s one day but the Church is a very slow moving organization. They wouldn’t do this just because they don’t like children or gays but there is a logical answer. Let’s all just relax until we know.

  • MomOfFour

    THIS website has been created with only one mission in mind, that is to destroy the church. They don’t care about being balanced or fair but only to present the church in the worst possible manner. What they bring up is obviously only what they want you to believe and is not the most accurate. If you care, I will happily discuss the problems with the article point by point, but you should be aware that it is NOT accurate.
    Have prophets been wrong in the past? Yes, they have. However, most of what this site brings up are comments that are given by one man who taught contradicting principles on the subject, pretty much like they were publicly hashing out a theory. It was never doctrine as critics want you to believe nor was it a firm belief of BY. You have to realize that the church wasn’t as careful back then as they are now. Many fail-safes have been implemented in the church to prevent misinformation from being taught and spread. Instead of attempting to base the church’s belief off of an instance when someone speaking off the cuff, the Church has many people involved in decisions with much study and prayer to prevent incorrect principles from being taught. Most likely, there was an instance (or instances) that caused that this topic had to be addressed. You have to wonder why the Church whose sole mission is to bring people into it’s membership suddenly does just the opposite and goes against it’s purpose and excludes a very small group of people. They encourage *everyone* to join its ranks. This includes sinners of all types, people of every class, country, and social status. Why all of the sudden would they exclude innocent children? This is not something that would just come out of the blue, but there had to be a reason. So, most likely there was something that happened which brought this topic up (or there was talk of possible future legal problems which this policy would prevent). Correlation most likely penned the policy over much study and prayer. After it was put together it was then taken to the Prophet and Apostles who also took to much study and prayer in order to receive inspiration on whether to implement such huge policy change that would most likely cause a public uproar (which it has). After they received confirmation that it was what should happen, then they would give the go ahead to make the change.
    My understanding is that this hasn’t even been released yet. But wolves in sheeps clothing got a hold of it and sent it out to several anti-Mormon groups and people to disperse and contact media outlets in an attempt to make the church look bad. When something like this happens, the church trains the leaders on the new policy, it’s reasons and how to proceed in their callings. Anti-Mormons did not even give them time to do this and undercut any means of dealing with this properly and has sent mass hysteria through social media. The anti-Mormons have accomplished EXACTLY what they intended to do and people are feeding into it. I think *everyone* needs to take a step back, take a deep breath and calm down. We will know the what’s and why’s one day but the Church is a very slow moving organization. They wouldn’t do this just because they don’t like children or gays but there is a logical answer. Let’s all just relax until we know.

    • Bob Smith

      If it wasn’t doctrine, then why was the Adam-God theory taught in the endowment for so long? I’m afraid they weren’t just “publicly hashing out theories”.

      The fail-safes you describe (i.e. the correlation committee) indeed has tried to lock down the doctrine into something “pure”, but unfortunately it consistently contradicts what many past prophets and apostles have taught (e.g. you get Gordon B. Hinckley saying polygamy is “not doctrinal” even though it’s still in our canonized D&C 132).

      The what’s and why’s are pretty obvious, I think that this article: http://zelphontheshelf.com/why-justifications-for-the-new-policy-dont-work-or-hold-up/ concludes with the most probable reasons for this new policy based on the record of past behavior patterns in the church.

      • MomOfFour

        You’re an anti Mormon, i don’t expect you to spend much time with actual facts.

        http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_doctrine/Repudiated_concepts/Adam-God_theory

        • Bob Smith

          Interesting. I hope you are aware that the article you does in fact admit that Adam-God was taught by the PROPHET who supposedly “can’t lead us astray”. The argument that it was not “fully understood” and “cannot be reconciled with scripture” is exactly the point of this Zelph on the Shelf article — i.e. that prophets CAN lead you astray (so I’m sure Zelph appreciates your supporting facts). The FAIR article also admits (in a brief and obfuscated way) that “by the presidency of Joseph F. Smith (1901–18) there were active moves to censure small groups that taught Adam-God” which is a round-about way of saying that the doctrine was generally accepted by the Latter-day Saints for about 50 years, and is fully in line with everything Zelph claimed in this article.

          Also, if you didn’t know, FAIR also admits that it was taught in the temple endowment — thanks FAIR for proving our point!: http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_temples/Endowment/Adam-God_and_the_%22Lecture_at_the_Veil%22

          And if you by chance do actually care to know the actual person behind this “anti Mormon” stereotype that I wear, I have in fact spent hours and hours (it was practically a part time job) considering the “facts” (as you claim) as presented by FAIR and other pro-LDS sources. Trust me, I wanted the church to be true, but in the end all the contradictions compelled me to the conclusion that it is not. So to dismiss me as “an anti Mormon” who can’t be expected to spend much time with “actual facts” is beyond ridiculous.

          The converse makes far more sense by the simple fact that you shared a FAIR article that ACTUALLY PROVES THE POINT of this Zelph on the Shelf article (did you even read that FAIR article before throwing it out there?). So unlike the anti-mormon conjecture you threw out there, I have a conjecture that actually has clear evidence to support it which you provided everyone (thanks!), namely, that “You are a true-believing Mormon, I don’t expect you to spend much time with actual facts”

          • MomOfFour

            My point is FAIR MORMON presents facts. You present the philosophy of man (half truths, twisted facts, and sometimes outright lies. ie children must disavow PARENTS) mingled with facts (scripture). LOL! Someone else does that hmmmm. I’m saying, if you want truth, it’s not here. You’d be better off with a part time job at McDonald’s assisting with the obesity epidemic than assisting in the work of Satan. I hear the deposits made into that account don’t pay out too well.

          • Bob Smith

            And those FAIR facts show that “prophets” are sometimes wrong in big ways. Are you denying that? (If so, please re-read the Adam-God FAIR article you posted a link to).

            And yet you can turn to a recent conference report and see that the prophets and apostles still very frequently claim “We cannot lead you astray”. Hmm… but what about these FAIR “facts” that show that the members of the church WERE led astray… doesn’t seem to add up to me, what about you?

            So what do the facts FAIR presents, in which FAIR directly says that prophets have been wrong, mean to you?

            Do you still believe that prophets “cannot lead you astray”? What does “cannot lead you astray” mean to you?

            I’m honestly interested in your answer to those questions.

  • MomOfFour
  • MomOfFour

    zelph on the shelf is a HUGE ANTI MORMON website. One of the worst out there!!!!!!! FAIR MORMON has answered many critical questions. If you get mixed up on this piece of CRAP website please know there are answers out there http://www.fairmormon.org can help you.

  • MomOfFour
    • Bob Smith

      Was that article a satire?

  • MomOfFour
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