Just my rambling thoughts about being gay and Mormon

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Another one under the bus

The Washington Post recently published an article about black people in the Mormon church.  In the article the newspaper quotes BYU religion professor Randy Bott among others.  Professor Bott gives the same explanation that I've heard a hundred times over the years in church meetings - basically the idea that blacks are decedents of Cain and that they were cursed and denied the priesthood.  He cites the Book of Abraham as reference. 

Well, today the LDS church threw their own religion professor under the bus in a statement they released saying that he was not teaching LDS doctrine.  Also, the Church's statement says that the Church does not know when or why the ban on blacks started.  WTF??

If a religion professor at BYU does not know what the real doctrine of the church is, then how can any common member possibly hope to know it?  Lately, it seems the church leaders in Salt Lake change the doctrine to respond to the most recent PR disaster.

If it's not doctrine then why did they allow it to be taught for so many years?  I give them some slack because I realize they are just human.  But, they also claim to be prophets.  Why is it so hard to just admit that there was never any real basis for denying the priesthood to black members except for fear and racism?  If that's not the reason then you would think the Church leaders would stand behind their own scripture.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I suppose I should sit down and write something, witty and urbane,
But at present I’ve not so much to say. I think I shall abstain.
My life is fairly pleasant, even if it is quite plain.
I’ll just ignore the things that pain and those that I disdain, 
And dream of days gone by, when I was gay in Spain.
Perhaps, someday the sane will reign,
And I can end this strange refrain.
Oh silly me, I’m so inane.
Those that ordain will never cease to strain, so long as they can yet get gain. 


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bloomberg calls out Mormon Church For Gun Sales

“One would think that a church would feel a special obligation to make sure that they weren't fueling a black market for a particularly deadly form of commerce,” a source involved in the report says.  See the link below for the full story.
Browning M1911 semiautomatic pistol - the official state gun of Utah

Prop 8 Declared Unconstitutional

"Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come". Victor Hugo

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Links to good stuff

Here is a link to Joanna Brooks's recent article over at Religion Dispatches entitled Time for Mormons to Come to Terms with Church History.

And here is a link to the results of John Dehlin's recent survey on why people leave the Church. Learning hidden, less-faith-promoting information is a big factor.
Interesting, but not surprising, that I fall in the 15% who are disaffected with the Church for the primary reason of its stance on homosexuals. Church history deception is a secondary issue for me but a larger issue for the Church overall. Nothing new here, growing up gay you become accustomed to being a second class concern.

got what you wanted

I've been Mormon for way longer than I care to admit, maybe even before I was born since my family goes back to the very earliest days of Mormonism. I know something of the history before my time and much about what happened in the Church during my life. Therefore, I have some perspective on how the Church has changed. 
One of the most interesting changes to me is the absolute consolidation of power within the Quorum of the Twelve. I've seen it by the way people interact with and talk about general authorities. It used to be that they were respected as men who had been called to a position of responsibility. It was not much different than the way other church leaders such as bishops were respected. They were not viewed as infallible and they openly stated as much. They were loved by the people because they loved the people and served them. The lives of the members were made better because of Christlike leaders who served them.
In the past, the Twelve had been greatly influenced by their interactions with local members. These personal contacts had tempered their actions and helped them understand the real struggles of everyday members. 
Over time, the Twelve have systematically distanced themselves from the daily lives of the members and have eliminated every meaningful voice of dissent, opposition, and counsel to them. In fact, to even suggest that you propose to counsel a member of the Twelve is today looked at as blasphemous.
What a change from the leader-server model that Christ established. This may have been somewhat inevitable with a growing worldwide organization. But rather than allow organic growth and adaptation to happen naturally, the Twelve have somewhat ruthlessly imposed their mark on every aspect of the Church. Today, they are the undisputed kings of Mormonism. They achieved the goal of total control. This is some of the darker side of their legacy:

  • Church meetings that are bland, boring, and shallow
  • Testimonies that are cookie cutter copies of one another
  • Like it or not, these guys are opinionated, isolated, and out of touch, which results in the Church adapting to social changes 30 years after the rest of society (women, blacks, and gay rights are examples)
  • Putting many members in a nearly constant state of cognitive dissonance for one reason or another because what appears to be the best decision to thoughtful members does not match Church practice
  • Expecting they can control the story of church history like they control Sunday School lessons
  • Causing the disaffection of otherwise believing members who will no longer tolerate the curtain of deception in the name of the Lord
  • A cult of personality worship around the Twelve
  • The modern Quorum of the Twelve have run the organization with a ruthless efficiency that would make General Motors proud. Unfortunately, this has created a culture where it appears the Twelve have abdicated their pastoral responsibilities for the power of the corporate boardroom.
Saving souls both spiritually and temporally is a task that when done well requires adaptation to the needs of individuals. It requires caring one-on-one attention, patience, acceptance, and non-judgmental love. It is messy and time consuming and requires flexibility. It is wholly inconsistent with the principles of lean mean corporate governance.

What to do?  Not that they would ask my opinion, but below are a few suggestions. 
  • Allow members of the Twelve to retire
  • Abolish the seniority system within the Twelve
  • Don't create policy around things based on how they will politically effect the Church
  • Acknowledge past errors and injuries
  • Acknowledge that women can and did hold the priesthood
  • Allow women to be local leaders beyond primary and relief society
  • Allow men to serve in the primary presidency
  • Acknowledge the facts of church history
  • Encourage honest discussion, disagreement, and dialogue in meetings
  • Encourage diversity
  • Make public the church finances
  • Focus more on the journey and less on the destination
  • Stop the guilt trip and the incessant obsession with sex
  • Acknowledge that coffee, tobacco, and alcohol have nothing to do with salvation
  • Allow for local flexibility and adaption
  • Lighten up