Denied! Temple Recommends and “Apostate” Relatives

By: hawkgrrrl
July 8, 2014

No recommend for you!

A specific section of the Church Handbook of Instruction is being cited as the rationale for denying family members Temple Recommends due to the views of their family members.  The section in question is this:

Section 3.3.4  Members Whose Close Relatives Belong to Apostate Groups

Bishops and their counselors must take exceptional care when issuing recommends to members whose parents [1] or other close relatives belong to or sympathize with apostate groups.  Such members must demonstrate clearly that they repudiate these apostate religious teachings before they may be issued a recommend.

The interview question that corresponds with this injunction is:

“Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual?”

The first time I was asked this question in a Temple Recommend interview, I really had no idea what groups were meant, so I asked.  The interviewer explained that the question referred to splinter sects of Mormonism, specifically the fundamentalist sects that practice polygamy.  That was the first time I had heard that there were Mormon groups still practicing polygamy, something I had assumed everyone was thrilled to ditch the second they were told they could.

And yet, those being denied recommends are not affiliated with polygamist or other splinter sects.  Due to the Ordain Women group being labelled “apostate,” individuals have reported that their close friends and relatives are being denied recommends based on association with those who have an active profile on Ordain Women.  Certainly this is overreaching that the church never intended!  And yet, local leaders have been given absolute discretion to interpret the guideline however they choose, resulting in a terrible and unnecessary case of Leader Roulette.  Here are a few examples:

  • A feminist claims that her friend was denied a recommend for being friends with her.
  • A bishop warned a sister that her upcoming family temple sealing was in jeopardy because she had “liked” some Ordain Women profiles, and that doing so would also make her ineligible to even be interviewed for a temple recommend.
  • A bishop explained in a 5th Sunday lesson that he personally monitors ward members’ Facebook activity to determine if they are honest and worthy.
  • Members of one sister’s ward complained to the bishop that she was apostate for supporting gay marriage in her Facebook posts.  The bishop threatened to rescind this sister’s recommend as a result.
  • A bishop called a feminist’s husband in to question him about his wife’s online activities. [2]
  • A Bishop took away a sister’s recommend because she would not take down her Ordain Woman profile.  Read about it here.
  • A ward member tattled on someone for responding to a Facebook poll in favor of Washington state’s referendum on same-sex marriage. The sister was instructed to remove the poll from her Facebook page, and to assure him that she wasn’t discussing any of her political opinions in church or she would face church discipline.
  • Someone was reported to the stake president because she “liked” Gina Colvin‘s post about joining OW at General Conference.  She was asked not to do it again.
  • One sister states that her bishop claims he was told during a leadership training (with E. Ballard and three other area authorities) that apostasy can be something as simple as liking a page or sharing a link on Facebook, even on your own private page.  According to her bishop, that is teaching others about your controversial beliefs, and therefore apostate.
  • One bishop threatened to stop financial help to a family unless the feminist wife stopped publishing her opinions on Facebook, and further threatened disciplinary action if she did not stop posting things he felt were wrong.

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you do say, post, or like, may be used against you in a court of love.

If the standard in the handbook is applied so generally, the church itself doesn’t even live up to it.  The LDS church does interfaith work with competing sects whose teachings contradict ours.  Working together is affiliating, and it’s the nature of the expression “strange bedfellows”; when allies share a single common interest but otherwise differ greatly in ideology.  Competing sects have labelled us a cult and sought to prevent us from gaining converts among their flocks, yet the church has partnered with them to oppose gay marriage during Prop 8 in California and even more recently.  So clearly, political affiliations should not be grounds for discipline. [3]

Going back to the guideline itself, here’s where individual leader interpretation can be thorny to navigate:

  • What is an apostate group?  What is the definition of apostate and, in our current day of social media in which members are encouraged to be active on-line, what constitutes a group?
  • Who is a close relative?  What about relatives who have been excommunicated?  Are we not allowed to feel sympathetic to them?
  • How does one demonstrate that they repudiate apostate religious teachings?  Wouldn’t this standard vary from bishop to bishop?  Do you have to unfriend relatives from Facebook?  Is it fair for your bishop to require you to make statements in your status updates opposing groups deemed apostate by that leader?
  • How do you draw the line between the “apostate religious teachings” and mere association with the family member if a bishop chooses to define it broadly?

Every ward has a Gladys Kravitz or two.

This is a disturbing trend, one the church should address to prevent any unintended local ecclesiastical abuse.  I can’t imagine the church really intends to bar sympathetic relatives of feminists or homosexuals from the temple, but local leaders’ interpretations can vary as they strive to obey what they believe to be the church’s will.

Discuss.

[1] Note that “parents” are specifically named, rather than spouses, friends, or children.  This fact seems to confirm the idea that this guideline is designed to weed out members of splinter sects who might seek access to LDS temples.  Well, at least Jeanne Tripplehorn did in Big Love.

[2] Nothing says equality like your dad, I mean husband, being called in to talk about you.

[3] Of course, gay marriage and equal rights for women are political, but areas about which the church has expressed an opinion, although that opinion has been a bit difficult to pin down.  That puts members of differing political viewpoints at risk if they have a local leader who primarily understands Mormonism through the lens of political assumptions.

103 Responses to Denied! Temple Recommends and “Apostate” Relatives

  1. ji on July 8, 2014 at 4:38 AM

    A temple recommend is not a civil right. It is the voluntary accord of three parties, all three of whom are required — if any one party doesn’t feel comfortable, then there is no recommend. The three parties are the individual member, his or her neighbor whom he or she sustained as bishop, and his or her neighbor whom he or she sustained as stake president. As in all matters, each of the three is invited to seek inapiration in the decision.

    We err in thinking of a temple recommend as a civil right. We err in thinking that it is something we purchase.

    I don’t know how much truth is behind the stories, and I know some people are angry and want to shame the church as a tactic. In winning their war. I hope the stories are more hyperbole than truth, but regardless, in these stories we are only hearing from one of the three parties (a party with a definite agenda) so we aren’t hearing the complete stories.

    In difficult times, we need patience and kindness. With only part of the story, we need forbearance. A person whose temple recommend has been forfeit really should work privately and quietly with his or her neighbor (bishop or stake president) to come to an accord. Public appeals are not generally helpful in these matters. Where things are out of balance, they’ll return to balance soon enough.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 13

  2. Jeff C on July 8, 2014 at 5:25 AM

    What did Jeremy Bentham call it when you were unsure if you were being watched at any moment? Oh yeah, the Panopticon! It floors me how some over-zealous local leaders think this is “hastening the work.” Have we been reduced to the church of “Big brother is watching?”

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 25

  3. anonymous on July 8, 2014 at 5:42 AM

    The vast amount of hearsay and unauthenticated and unverified “reports” of actions by priesthood leaders in the post seriously undermine its premise. Only one report has any sourcing. Who are these myriads of people that have been unfairly dealt with? Why are they not speaking for themselves?

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 17

  4. Howard on July 8, 2014 at 6:44 AM

    Approaching McCarthyism!
    Assumed guilt by association.
    Blacklisting.
    Collective punishment.
    Shunning.

    Fear driven, control orientated.
    A apostate in every pew!

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 16

  5. Jeff Spector on July 8, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    I am concerned on a number of levels:

    1. Like a comment above, who are these people and where is the evidence? Since these groups operate in the public media, why not share it so it can be substantiated? I have no doubt some folks were talked to, but let’s not forget the “marytr” syndrome is at play here as well. I have been a bit amused by the references to “Kate Kelly’s parents” like they have no names. If they actually support their daughter, come out and say so. The Brother of Jared thing only works in the Book of Mormon.

    2. We have overzealous local leaders who try to impress their own leaders and “make a name” for themselves by weeding out the apostates in their midst. “A Facebook page like is apostasy?” Seriously? Do they know I watched an episode of “Sister Wives” this past weekend” Oops. I spilled the beans. And my Temple recommend is due…..

    3. Things are way too generalized. if you accept the 1st Presidency statement from two weeks ago, you see a lot of latitude for questioning and opinions. The same to apply to this “guilt by association” mentality. Unless the folks who get interviewed are quite defiant, I say leave them alone. A lot of the very defiant folks who grace some of the Facebook pages and blogs are either ex-members, less active or never members. Not all, mind you, but many.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  6. tomirvine999 on July 8, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    I have defriended a few of my FB church friends when they have reacted adversely to my posts or likes. Yes, I realize that they have other ways of monitoring my activity, but defriending sends a message.

    My bishop and I have both received a phone call from a non-GA COB official objecting to one of my webpages. I have documented the name and details elsewhere. So yes, “Big Brother” is watching.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 11

  7. Howard on July 8, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    Gospel church truths lies are so fragile they must be protected by cold war type espionage and expulsion of misinformed members.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 13

  8. BidTimeReturn on July 8, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    cutline gold: You have the right to remain silent. Anything you do say, post, or like, may be used against you in a court of love.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 20

  9. whizzbang on July 8, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    The Church affliates itself with all kinds of organizations, heck some see the US Gov’t as an apostate Britain but the Church doesn’t necessarily agree with their viewpoints

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  10. James Allred on July 8, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    This is one of the challenges with the church. Even though they have tried so hard to corellate all of the doctrines, teachings and policies, they are still subject to the individual interpretation of local leaders.

    I was even personally challenged of having taught false doctrine simply by quoting from the church’s website from its essay on race and the priesthood.

    Orthodoxy is its own brand of bullying.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 26

  11. Kristine A on July 8, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    So which is it, we have to keep silent and private all of these matters or they have to be publicly substantiated with names and faces? Do you see how we just can’t win? I do agree I’d give the list more weight with citations, but then these women would be reamed for breaking confidences.

    I do think if a bishop read everything I commented and posted, 20% would ex me, 20% would agree with me, and the rest would be a crapshoot. But then again I’m pretty good at being just the right tone in person (usually) . . .

    re: a temple recommend isn’t a right — holy cow, yeah, and the standards have been established by the temple recommend questions. if you can answer those truthfully access is granted…….. obv the bishop is the gatekeeper and his stewardship enables him to make the call but wow, this stuff is a mess.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 16

  12. hawkgrrrl on July 8, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    ji: Nobody would consider the temple recommend a civil right, and yet some tightening of policy guidelines for those conducting interviews would yield more predictable results. Bishops and SPs do their best to ascertain worthiness based on the questions they ask in the interview every two years. And yet, you may recall that the church had to crack down in the 1990s because local leaders were elaborating on the questions and adding questions that they personally felt were important rather than sticking to the yes/no questions. That’s what we are talking about here. This one question is open to broad and varied interpretation, and the CHI is equally unclear, giving a lot of latitude.

    As to added requirements, my parents had a bishop who added questions about playing cards and drinking Coke. My friend’s dad (when he was a bishop) was asked whether he read all four standard works every year. While they’re not supposed to add to the questions, the last time I was interviewed, the 1st counselor asked me to share an experience or a testimony about different questions to illustrate my yes answers, while my kids were waiting in the hall to go home. I don’t have a story or testimony for every single temple recommend question even though I can answer yes. Was my story judged for coherence or other qualities that go beyond a yes or no? I felt very put on the spot. This was a purely local variation to the standard requirement. For a heavily correlated church, some local leaders feel very empowered to freelance, and yet a teacher can be called on the carpet for quoting from lds.org or even the scriptures just because someone listening doesn’t understand the doctrine properly and thinks it’s not correct. People are becoming more familiar with our dumbed down lessons than what the scriptures actually say.

    I have made the source examples anonymous, and I would not cast other people’s pearls before swine, particularly not in a post illustrating how those things have been used against people. These are real people telling their experiences the way they understand them, but they are part of various FB groups where anonymity is protected by group rules, and it is not mine to divulge. I share these examples so that we can have a real discussion about what happens when things are worded so loosely than local leaders who want to demonstrate their allegiance to the organization can apply the guidelines in unpredictable ways.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 24

  13. forgetting on July 8, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    “A bishop explained in a 5th Sunday lesson that he personally monitors ward members’ Facebook activity to determine if they are honest and worthy”.

    I am somewhat stupefied. He is a bishop and he has time to patrol Facebook? How does he have the time to monitor a whole ward’s feeds for both worthiness and honesty. The fact checking of honesty alone would consume massive amounts of time. One has to wonder then just how attentive he can be in the actual interviews, he must be exhausted and nearly nodding off from all those times he is up all night on the laptop doing Facebook patrols … oh wait, I get it.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 4

  14. ji on July 8, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    Nobody would consider the temple recommend a civil right…

    Kristine A would.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  15. Hedgehog on July 8, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    ji, you divined this how exactly?

    I think Kristine’s point was that the standards required are defined by the questions, and ought to be applied consistently throughout the church. Except they aren’t.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 15

  16. The Other Clark on July 8, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    I suspect that the Q15 statement last week was issued (among other reasons) to send a message to overzealous local leaders. All of the cases cited in the OP were issued before the latest statement. And while “leader roulette” will remain an unescapable facet of mormonism, I hope that local leaders will recognize and follow the instruction that orthodox mormonism is bigger than they think it is.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  17. ji on July 8, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    Bishops and stake presidents have been asked to stay within the questions as provided for them, and I regret hearing stories of departures from the questions. I suppose some of the stories have truth to them. I haven’t faced this situation yet.

    But my point is that a temple recommend is a privilege and an invitation — it isn’t a right that someone can DEMAND, however worthy he or she might otherwise be. Bishops and stake presidents are our neighbors, called from among us and serving us. They have a calling to magnify, and some of them won’t always be perfect. In the long term, these things tend to work themselves out, as bishops and stake presidents learn and remember. But all the pretended and even sincere outrage at the humanity of our bishops and stake presidents is unkind.

    I write this as someone who has never had a bishop or stake president decline to issue a recommend at my request. If I ever do find myself in that situation, and thought myself wronged by an imperfect bishop or stake president, I hope I would take a longer view of things, and forgive him in the short term. If I was concerned about the bishop’s process, I might raise the matter with the stake president (not an appeal, so to speak, but an inquiry). If I was concerned about the stake president’s process, I might ask for an interview with the general authority visiting at the next stake conference. Well, that’s what I hope I would do. I hope I would not become anger and bitter and hateful.

    Here’s an honest question — if a bishop stays true to the questions and doesn’t feel right about issuing a recommend, should he:
    - (a) ask more questions to assuage his doubts and hopefully issue the recommend;
    - (b) close the interview by saying something like, “Thanks for coming, but the spirit suggests to me I need to think about this matter before issuing the recommend”; or
    - (c) say he feels doubtful about the matter and ask for the supplicant’s permission to ask more probing questions?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  18. Douglas on July 8, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    Agree with some of the respondents that accusations of unfairness (e.g., overzealousness in monitoring a member’s FB page, or questioning any manner of friendliness to a straying (former) member like Kate Kelly) need to be substantiated…time, place, person(s) involved, etc. If they’re true and not mere hyperbole, then it would, IMO, constitute “unrighteous dominion” and need to be corrected ASAP.

    IMO, Bishops and SPs need to find reasons to get members into the Temple, not keep them out. And yet some see themselves as like a goalkeeper…let no one pass! Hawk, it’s unfortunate that some Bishops (less SPs, you see them more or less ‘stick to the script’ at that level and upwards) feel a need to put their own twist on things. However, sometimes the roles get reversed. My lady friend’s bishop could wait to sign her recommend once she’d pass her first year in the Church, but her SP held it up nearly another year as he was concerned that she had until recently “sampled from the other side of the buffet”, and he felt that her INCLINATION, versus actual conduct, was enough to disqualify. Never mind that she still maintained friendship with her erstwhile partner (who herself is active in the Church, go figure, and the lady is a downright hoot).

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  19. tomirvine999 on July 8, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    hawkgrrrl

    You wrote:

    “People are becoming more familiar with our dumbed down lessons than what the scriptures actually say.”

    Isaiah 28:13

    But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  20. fbisti on July 8, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    ji: You are fortunate to have not yet encountered the dickish beliefs and attitudes some of our bishops and stake presidents have. …”when they get a little authority, as they suppose…”

    In 40+ years of adulthood, 15, or so bishops, and 6, or so stake presidents, I have encountered only 2 (one of each–but that is about 10% !), “Balance” (and righteous dominion) was not restored until they finished their 5/10 year stint and were released. It is wholly unacceptable in “God’s one and only true church on the face of the earth” that we members should have to simply shut our mouths and bear the dominion of such leaders. They do massive and often irreparable harm.

    But, even short of such really bad behavior, we should (somehow, since it is fraught) be taught (officially) not to accept silently such damaging, odd, unrighteous behaviors as listed in the OP and in some of the comments. The Catholics aren’t the only institution that has a culture of “speak no ill of the Lord’s anointed” which allows ecclesiastical abuses. That aspect of our culture has long been a primary source of the “go along to get along” attitude ji and others have expressed here.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 12

  21. tomirvine999 on July 8, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    forgetting,

    You wrote:

    “A bishop explained in a 5th Sunday lesson that he personally monitors ward members’ Facebook activity to determine if they are honest and worthy”.

    “I am somewhat stupefied. He is a bishop and he has time to patrol Facebook? How does he have the time to monitor a whole ward’s feeds for both worthiness and honesty. The fact checking of honesty alone would consume massive amounts of time. One has to wonder then just how attentive he can be in the actual interviews, he must be exhausted and nearly nodding off from all those times he is up all night on the laptop doing Facebook patrols … oh wait, I get it.”

    There is no need for the bishop to directly patrol Facebook himself. Rather the ward busybodies do the grunt work and forward the information to him.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 10

  22. Jeff Spector on July 8, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    Hawk,

    “These are real people telling their experiences the way they understand them, but they are part of various FB groups where anonymity is protected by group rules,”

    I know from whence they come and that is where I have my doubts in some cases. They seem to play “can you top this” quite a bit. Peggy Fletcher Stack did a story with many names and accusations for all the world to see. (http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/58147363-78/women-says-church-ordain.html.csp) Actually, she is doing a bit of pot stirring herself.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  23. hawkgrrrl on July 8, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    Jeff: I think that’s a valid point, and as with any stories, whether you know the name and location or not, unless you know the person directly, you have to take it for what it’s worth. But do I believe bishops did stuff like this? I imagine the bishop’s real actions are in the ballpark on most of these, if not exactly as stated. Moreover, would the bishop in question agree with this description of what happened? I’d guess 70% yes.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  24. Douglas on July 8, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Again, it’s just sad that too many bishops feel an inclination to play “Gotcha!”…I’ve heard anecdotes of some requiring financial statements or tax returns to compare to tithing receipts. Others monitor FB? Wouldn’t surprise me with this attitude. The sad thing is, if a member feels a need to lie their way into the temple, then they’ve obviously missed the entire point! I say, let ‘em go anyway, and let the Lord deal with the ‘defilement’ of HIS house on HIS terms.

    Just proves that, with all due respect to the hard work and unstinting service that the typical LDS Bishop renders (and in light of time and energies away from his family and profession, is NEVER thanked enough), even an anal-retentive twit can do the job.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  25. Jeff G on July 8, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    Missing in the entire post is any indication that local leaders are or ought to be guided by their individual access to the spirit. Instead, decisions are construed as either universal law or leader roulette.

    If we really believe that our leaders are led in some way by the spirit then we shouldn’t expect or want them nail down specific answers to any of your questions. Instead, we would simply expect and want general guidelines which allow for some degree of flexibility.

    Of course, many will not see this as flexibility, but as an arbitrariness which defines a sort of tyranny. But this only serves to highlight the question: do you sustain your local leader or not?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  26. rah on July 8, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    Jeff,

    I just personally came from visiting a friend who is experiencing this behavior not only for herself but now even just a friend of hers had her temple recommend threatened specifically for being the persons friend. I was in the persons home. I watched it unfold in real time as the friend recounted what she had been told during the recommend interview.

    And since you are so quick to disbelieve others stories maybe we should just all start disbelieving every report on the internet of someone who says “nothing bad has ever happened to me”. How do we KNOW that is true. They could be lying. They could be making it up to make a point. They could be selectively remembering. Lets just stop that game. I think we all agree here that this type of behavior is not the majority though we don’t know how prevelant it is at the moment. I would hope rare but systematic and relatively rare still matter. It hurts real people.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 6

  27. Jeff G on July 8, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    Rah,

    I’m assuming that your comment was directed at Jeff S, rather than Jeff C or Jeff G.

    (Not to mention the Geoff J, Geoff A, Geoff B and Jeff T that also float around the ‘nacle.)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  28. LBK on July 8, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    I only had one bad experience with a Temple Recommend interview. It was about forty years ago and everything was fine until the end. A member of the Stake Presidency asked me why we did not have any children. I answered him that it was because my wife was a DES baby. That was a drug that was supposed to help women avoid pregnancy complications. Unfortunately, it also caused sterility and cancer. In addition her mother had told my wife’s sisters about it and its dangers, but swore them to secrecy because she did not want my wife to find out. Both of those things really upset my wife a great deal. I asked him not to ask her about it as it would upset her again..

    He, of course, asked her and interrogated her about the steps we tried to get pregnant. He concluded by asking if she committed a sin that caused it? Did she speak to her Bishop about whatever the sin was?. Needless to say, I took home an emotional wreck that night. I also tried to make sure my wife never had to deal with him again.

    Those that knew him said he was a kind and loving man? I could only conclude he had a bad night and my wife was the one who suffered from it.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  29. wreddyornot on July 8, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    I’m friends on fb with my bishop and a member of the stake presidency. On June 12th I made a posting that read:

    “Those who know me know that I don’t often hedge on speaking my mind and asking questions. I have spoken my mind to family, friends and relatives, to colleagues and acquaintances, to bothers and sisters, to foes and fanatics. I speak it in my private prayers and petitions to God. I have spoken it in my profession, in my private life, and at church. On the other hand, I have tried to recognize boundaries: institutions’, people’s and my own. Right now, however, I want to speak my mind publicly, in this *social* medium, which is *public*, where I have just a few friends, from family, from school, from work, and from church, etc.

    “I want to know where my Mother in Heaven is relative to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and if the prophet is inquiring after her. I want to know why the church that I belong to ignores Her and also promotes inequalities, and I am thinking specifically of men having control over women, i.e. priesthood keys and authority — the right to govern and control and to judge. To me, the Spirit says that these things — not inquiring after a Mother in Heaven and treating women and girls unfairly — are abominations. But I want to know, and I want to know so badly that I am willing to cross boundaries and take risks and enter the fray. Bishop? Member of the Stake Presidency? On up the line.

    “Who’s on the Lord’s side, who? Do what is right and let the consequences follow.”

    I’ve made other public fb postings. I don’t presently have a temple recommend, although for the bulk of the 46 years since I was endowed I have. So far I haven’t been called in although I attend weekly and help my daughter teach primary, but my impression is that there are a lot of inconsistencies as a consequence of the media and the mixed messages and other complicated reasons coming from all over. I look forward to moving forward in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  30. Jeff G on July 8, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Why would you take those questions to facebook rather than to the Lord in prayer?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  31. el oso on July 8, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    rah,
    hawkgrrl answered that she thinks that the bishops in question would agree about 70% of the time while the other 30% may say that the OP is an unfair characterization. In the spirit of honest answers (as befits the subject being discussed) let’s take that as the range of possibilities and move forward.
    All,
    There is clearly a subset of leaders who either ask questions way off the script, or feel that more clarification of “something” is needed. Some of these even want to dictate personal behavior that is generally deemed private and could easily be interpreted as neutral or even gospel aligned. I would love to hear some suggestions in answer to ji (#17). Since I am not a current leader, I will try to suggest routes forward for members who may encounter some of the above situations.
    One of the first things to do in an adversarial type interview is try to ratchet down the emotion. A good way to do this is to ask for a follow-up interview after both have had a time to consider the original positions.
    Do your homework before the next interview.
    If you think that the leader did not take into consideration the very recent guidance, bring it to his attention. (I agree with the other Clark that part of the reason for the statement is to tone down individual zealotry.)
    If a family member is under suspicion, you can say that you maintain good relationships with your family members like President McKay did with his niece Fawn.
    If some friends of yours are off the rails, say that you are maintaining relationships consistent with several recent talks by Pres. Monson. I am reaching out to the one.
    If the political issue of gay marriage is raised, point out that Senator Reid has immense political power and has not raised a finger over the past 6 years to support the church’s position.
    The activist portion of OW has clearly been identified as apostate (Kate Kelly has really helped spread that word by her high profile actions). You may have to go publically inactive from OW for a while.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  32. Jeff G on July 8, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    El Oso,

    The problem with many of these responses is that the bishop will then say – and rightly so: “President McKay and Senator Reid are not in my ward. I’m talking about you.”

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  33. Howard on July 8, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    Jeff G,
    I took my questions to the to the Lord in prayer and I was directed to the bloggernacle to help fix the problems. God wants this conversation no matter how much the church wants to silence it or control it.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 8

  34. Jeff G on July 8, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    Well lots of us have equally been directed to the bloggernacle to stop people from thinking its their place to fix many of these problems.

    I’m just saying, if your question is what? or why?, then you don’t really have any need to go on fb to discuss it. But people go to fb because answers to innocent questions like these aren’t really what they’re after.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  35. Howard on July 8, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    The problem with the LDS hierarchy and authority is brethren worship. Follow the spirit and worship the Father and Son. In the absence of the spirit follow the prophet when he’s inline with scripture but don’t fall for that B.S. that he won’t lead you astray, check the brethren’s advice with the spirit when ever possible.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 7

  36. Jeff G on July 8, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    How is worship of the brethren who are alive any different from the worship of the dead brethren that you suggest? Why do the dead authors of doctrine command more loyalty than the living authors we have today?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  37. Howard on July 8, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    You can’t discuss CES letter type problems with your local leaders because most of them are either naively uninformed or they have only a surface knowledge of a few issues largely informed by approved apologists. This is unhelpful to many, probably most. In addition there is a trust issue, how can you trust the church that has betrayed you with the contents of the betrayal? Finally your you questions have been discouraged most of your LDS life why would you believe they would be seriously entertained now? The bloggernacle was built on discussions that cannot be had at church (plus mommie blogs) so it isn’t going away despite the recent disciplinary scare/chill.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  38. IDIAT on July 8, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    I think the question is broad enough to address people other than polygamists. After all, the question is asked the world over, and as a practical matter most splinter polygamist groups are located in the western US. IMO, the phrase support, agree with or affiliate with, are fairly narrow. Rubbing elbows with non members is not affiliating. Offering a shoulder to a gay friend to cry on is not ‘supporting’ a gay relationship or encouraging homosexual behavior. Support implies a same mindedness, as does the phrase ‘agree’ with. Affiliation is also narrow. It’s a group self identification. TR’s aren’t denied to Democrats despite the fact that the party typically supports abortion initiatives. The question is designed to make the member confront his her beliefs about church doctrine, policy and principles. The member should answer as honestly as possible and then let the chips fall where they may. You can always beyond your bishop to the SP, then on to the area authority, etc. I’m a bit surprised it’s taken this long for the affiliation with OW to make its way onto the TR interview process.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  39. Howard on July 8, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    How is worship of the current brethren any different from the worship of the father and Son? You’re a bright guy Jeff G, let’s see if you can figure that one out on your own.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  40. Kristine A on July 8, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    @ji: we are invited and commanded to attend the temple, to make ourselves worthy and to participate. We are given standards of worthiness in the questions that have been established. If I were able to answer all the questions truthfully in my heart and be denied by some type of misunderstanding – it would be incredibly hurtful. Even though I have some experience dealing with unfulfilled righteous desires . . . It would be difficult. And I’m not DEMANDING to be let in.

    So step off, eh? I’ll bust out some Uchtdorf on you, “we too often justify our… judgment as reliable and exclusively appropriate. Though we cannot look into another’s heart, we assume that we know a bad motive or even a bad person when we see one.”

    If you notice my last sentence, “it’s all a mess” acknowledging the messy complex gray areas we’ve all been placed in by these outside forces. Never is it more appropriate than now to pray for our local leaders….

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  41. el oso on July 8, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    Jeff,
    About Senator Reid, you have a point the bishop may say that, but this will be getting further into politics which is completely outside his jurisdiction as well. This is the weakest of my suggestions, but it shifts the conversation to politics, not the moral questions of the temple.
    I highly doubt that any bishop would disparage the well documented public statement of love by a past prophet. If he were to say something like this, reply that you are just trying to follow the prophet. President Hinckley and Monson both have made somewhat similar statements, none have refuted this.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  42. Jeff G on July 8, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Howard,

    I don’t see how your comment answers my question at all. A little help?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  43. Howard on July 8, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    Jeff G,
    Which dead brethren did I suggest worshiping aside from HF and Christ?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  44. wreddyornot on July 8, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    Jeff G, I think that my post says I do and have taken such matters to the Lord as well as to others, does it not? If not, I do. And I think the Lord wants all of us to do more than just take them to the Lord. I have to do something about what the Lord gives. The reason I took and take them to fb too goes to the resultant furor and consequences which those asking important questions of the prophet in public faced and became a target to. I don’t believe I subscribe to the kind of Godly family or in the same way that you do insofar as I know of and/or understand your beliefs, which I admit is possibly too limited.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  45. Jeff G on July 8, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    Why then is it “worship” when we follow living prophets but not dead ones?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  46. Howard on July 8, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    So you don’t know the difference between follow and worship? Do you know anyone living who starry eyed over Brigham Young?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  47. hawkgrrrl on July 8, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    “Do you know anyone living who starry eyed over Brigham Young?” His descendants?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  48. Howard on July 8, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    Could be hawk, I didn’t think of that, do you know his descendants?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  49. hawkgrrrl on July 9, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    A friend was sharing some information about Milgram’s experiment that was interesting in light of how different leaders approach these situations. As we all know, Milgram’s experiment involved participants being willing to administer increasingly strong electronic shocks to other participants in another room. When the volunteers objected to the scientist’s insistence to “shock” the “learner,” the scientist would use one of four prompts: 1) Please continue, 2) The experiment requires that you continue, 3) It is absolutely essential that you continue, and 4) You have no other choice, you must go on.

    When faced with the fourth command, 0%–literally nobody–continued. People don’t do what they are commanded to do if they are questioning it.

    Rather than Milgram’s experiment showing that people do harmful things when commanded, it showed that they do harmful things when they think it’s important. Many of the participants who gave high-voltage shocks justified it not because they were told to do so, but because they thought the experiment was important.

    So it all does boil down to teaching correct principles and letting them govern themselves, and yet some bishops are willing to administer more pain to “learners” in helping the important experiment continue. Maybe the bishops are the ones who are really being evaluated in God’s Milgram experiment.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 14

  50. Hedgehog on July 9, 2014 at 1:04 AM

    “Maybe the bishops are the ones who are really being evaluated in God’s Milgram experiment.”
    Love this idea.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  51. Jeff g on July 9, 2014 at 1:40 AM

    Howard,

    The word “worship” was yours not mine… And I think you are dodging the question. How can you suggest people follow the scriptures while at the same time deride following the brethren?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  52. ji on July 9, 2014 at 5:00 AM

    It’s so easy to speak badly of bishops, as we can see in this chain, but how can it be made better? I asked a question earlier to help address the problem, but no one has offered any thoughts.

    [I]f a bishop stays true to the questions and doesn’t feel right about issuing a recommend, should he:
    - (a) ask more questions to assuage his doubts and hopefully issue the recommend;
    - (b) close the interview by saying something like, “Thanks for coming, but the spirit suggests to me I need to think about this matter before issuing the recommend”; or
    - (c) say he feels doubtful about the matter and ask for the supplicant’s permission to ask more probing questions?

    In all the cases that have been recited here, maybe (a) happens automatically — but maybe those members would feel better if the bishop followed (b) or (c) instead? Is (b) even allowable to readers here?

    The above is an honest question. The next one isn’t so much…

    Should we eliminate bishops completely? After all, if it is a matter of giving the right answers to canned questions, well, should we make the temple recommend a computerized application — the member logs in, answers the questions correctly, and prints out a recommend? I am hopeful most persons here would answer no to this question, but then that brings me back to the (a), (b), (c) question. What is a bishop supposed to do when he doesn’t feel right about issuing a recommend?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  53. Kristine A on July 9, 2014 at 7:14 AM

    He shouldn’t automatically grant one. You are right. But there needs to be some acknowledgement that human Bishops may misunderstand or misapply their own standards of worthiness that are not the Lord’s. And by not having an avenue to resolve it, that could keep a member out of the temple wrongly for abt 7 years, give or take. So yes, he can not issue the recommend, but hopefully he would then counsel with the SP and invite the ward member to do so as well to see how all of those concerns can be resolved.

    I had a friend at Ricks College in our ward who fit right in and was such a nice amazing guy. We thought it weird that he had 23 siblings but didn’t think he could have actually have come from a polygamous sect, decide he wants to be baptized in his second semester, and have to pass an interview with a Quorum of the 12 member. But it happened, I sat by his dad at the baptism.

    I think it is unfortunate that this handbook guideline exists in its current form. Obviously needs some clarification……..

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  54. Howard on July 9, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    Jeff G,
    Your question arose as a smokescreen cover for your dodge but I’m pleased to answer it. How can you suggest people follow the scriptures while at the same time deride following the brethren?

    Scripture is at least canon. The vast majority of what falls out of the brethren mouths is opinion, it doesn’t make canon nor should it. In between very rare revelations according to BRM We [the brethren] get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. In other words they get their truth and light from the same place we do, the scriptures! In addition according to Elder Oaks, General Authorities dispense general advice but he acknowledges there are exceptions to that advice.

    So in the unlikely event of a revelation actually coming through the President of the church (the only one with stewardship for the entire church) we should attempt to confirm it with the spirit and if confirmed follow it. The rest of what they have to say is opinion and may or may not offer something useful to us as individuals. If the President of the church was a Joseph we would have more revelation to confirm and follow but he isn’t a Joseph, he and the rest of the brethren are Olivers.

    Follow the prophet? In the absence of a Joseph as President the song lyrics should read “Follow the spirit”. The modern concept of follow the Prophet is a carefully crafted illusion via conflation and sleight of hand. Olivers = Joseph (wrong!) President = Prophet (wrong!) Group inspiration = Thus saith the Lord revelation (wrong!) Priesthood authority = God’s power (wrong!), etc, etc.

    The proof texted scripture whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same taken out of context is often used to justify following LDS leaders but read the rest, it only applies when speaking What I the Lord have spoken… So now we come to a blasphemous conflation when it is applied to more than what the Lord has spoken: The brethren = The Lord! Priesthood leaders = The Lord! No! They do not!

    But they would love you to believe they do and for you to blindly follow them which points to another set of problems. Hubris. Conformation bias. Celebrity (idol) worship. Pharisaical drift and codification. Unrighteous dominion. In short an inflated belief in our leaders and in themselves invites and accumulates a lot of error. (see 1949 Q1 statement)

    Olivers at the helm believing they = The Lord results in blind guides.

    Olivers at the helm with members believing they = The Lord results in blind sheeple.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  55. hawkgrrrl on July 9, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    ji: I actually did a blog post a while back on the very topic of your questions. Here’s that post: http://bycommonconsent.com/2012/02/21/discerning-readers-want-to-know/

    The tl;dr is that a friend of mine used to be a bishop. I asked him this very question. He said it was his responsibility to make sure nobody got a temple recommend unworthily. I would have said that it was his duty to ask the questions without elaboration and to issue it if he found no impediment, and the sin be on the head of the member if he erred.

    It seems to me that there’s more probability that a bishop will be overconfident in his powers of discernment than there is likelihood that someone will successfully lie to get in, and if a smooth liar does get in, that’s on the person who lied. But I would never in a million years have thought someone who is pro-gay rights or a feminist would be disqualified to go to the temple either. And yet some bishops do think so.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  56. Douglas on July 9, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    @28 ??? I would fail to see why the then-SP should feel a need to inquire into a couple’s family planning decisions. It’s not as if infertility is unknown amongst the Saints! What a clod and moron!! First off, oh that you’d been able/willing to answer this bozo, “President ####, it’s my understanding that the Church, although it definitely encourages a married couple to procreate as their HEALTH permits, leaves the decision of children, quantity, and frequency as a private matter, and I’d appreciate it if you’d butt out! If you trouble either myself or my wife about this, I will lodge a formal complaint to the applicable General Authority. Your calling does NOT give you perrogative to hound us regarding our ability and willingness to have children!” And then once this “A-Hole” bothered your wife, AFTER I’d demonstrated the alternate application of the “laying on of hands”, I’d have followed through with a formal complaint.

    I’ve already dealt in my time with insensitive jerks that feel that if misfortune befalls a member that it MUST be a result of some grievious sin. Self-righteous, pompous idiots. That’s when mine inclination to show gratitude to bishops and SPs for their service is sorely tested. Fortunately, these sad anecdotes are few, just not few enough.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 4

  57. IDIAT on July 9, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    JI -#52 – all of the above. It depends on the person and the answers given, what you may know of them through your interactions at church and elsewhere. There is a split. Those who are anti-authority (vestiges of Protestants) want a bishop to ask the questions, accept the answers at face value and issue the recommend, the “sin” being on the member being interviewed if he’s not worthy. Pro-authority people want the bishop to ask the questions, then follow a) – c) depending on circumstances and answers. I will say that in all my training, I’ve never been told I couldn’t go outside the questions. I lived through the nuttiness of the early 1980′s when leaders where probing into whether members were having unholy and unnatural sex. I personally didn’t have any leaders who went too far overboard. No matter what you do, you’re going to have some rogue bishop who will ask inappropriate questions. But my experience is: People lie. They will rationalize their dishonesty, answer the questions “correctly” in order to get a recommend, hide their true feelings and beliefs. The TRI process is not a perfect process, and (I think) is meant to stand as two witnesses of a person’s worthiness to attend the temple. If we were to self assess there really wouldn’t be a reason for an interview at all. There wouldn’t even be a need for a recommend at all.

    Hawk – #55 Is being pro-gay rights (not even sure what that means) something that is contrary to or opposed to the teachings of the church in Handbook Two? If not, why not? If so, why? Is being a feminist contrary to or oppose some teaching of the church? If not, why not? If so, why so? The problem with those labels is they are so broad one can’t address them without getting into the particulars. There are some feminists who might not qualify for the temple, just as there are some people who are pro-GLBT who might not qualify.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  58. hawkgrrrl on July 9, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    “The problem with those labels is they are so broad one can’t address them without getting into the particulars. There are some feminists who might not qualify for the temple, just as there are some people who are pro-GLBT who might not qualify.” That’s the whole point. There were bishops back during Prop 8 who tied worthiness to participation in the church’s political campaign. Was that rogue? I say yes, but those bishops thought they were doing what they were supposed to do. Where is the line crossed? Wherever that local bishop says it is, whether that was made clear up front or not, and whether that bishop is consistent with the church’s actual stance or not.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  59. Joni on July 9, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    I assume this is from CHI Volume 1? The one that roughly NINE women in the Church have access to?

    This is… man, it’s a witch hunt. It’s really hard to feel good about the Church right now.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 8

  60. Jeff G on July 9, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Hawkgrrl,

    I know that my comments have gone a bit off topic, so if you’d like to redirect or even delete some of my comments, I don’t mind all that much.

    Howard,,

    I’ve been trying to ask this question before you asked me anything at all in this thread, but you have – until now – continued to dodge answering it. Smoke screen indeed.

    As for the answer you gave, I find it deeply unsatisfactory. For starters, you say that the difference between brethren worship and scripture worship is as follows:

    1) canon vs opinion

    You make it sound as if no opinions have been canonized when clearly they have. More importantly, it was by and large the Olivers (as you call them) rather than the Josephs that performed the canonization process. In fact, I would say that in many cases this process was carried out by people much less inspired than Oliver. In other words, all your reasons for doubting the brethren seem like just as good reasons to doubt most of canonized scripture.

    2) Direct vs indirect

    We have no reason to assume that the brethren get their words and teachings exclusively from the scriptures. You simply assert this as a faith claim. Furthermore, the scriptures are almost totally composed by people who also got their teachings from previous scriptures and prophets. Again, there is no deep difference between the scriptures and the brethren.

    3) Universal vs exception

    Brethren give general advice to which there will be exceptions… but that too is just what most of the scriptures are as well. The 10 commandments and the sermon on the mount are anything but universal and unexceptional law which must be followed to the letter. Again, I see no difference.

    4) Joseph vs Oliver

    The strong majority of scripture consists of the words of Olivers not Josephs. The Bible, The BoM, much of the D&C is simply people writing letters and their history which we latter group together in the scriptures. Furthermore, on a properly scaled timescale we see very, very few Josephs in comparison to the number of olivers in scripture. How is this at all different from what we see in the church today?

    5) Voice of Lord vs Voice of man

    Unless you think that the Lord wrote any of the scriptures Himself, then again the scriptures are filled by and large with the words of men, men who were once in the exact position that the brethren are today. Sometimes they said “Thus saith the Lord,” but most often they did not. That’s not at all that different from the brethren of today.

    In conclusion, I don’t see any principled reason for dismissing a loyalty to the brethren as “authority worship” while at the same time insisting that we cling to the scriptures. The men who wrote the scriptures were no different than the brethren that lead the church today and I find your preference for dead prophets over living ones extremely suspect.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  61. Howard on July 9, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    This get tough 1975 SWK GC talk may be of interest from a historical perspective regarding church discipline. It also demonstrates how things are left in the hands of local leaders.

    Excerpts:
    I should like to address a few words to our executive officers, particularly the bishops and stake presidents, who are the “common judges” in Israel.

    He quotes President John Taylor: I have heard of some Bishops who have been seeking to cover up the iniquities of men; ; I tell them, in the name of God, they will have to bear them themselves, and meet that judgment; and I tell you that any man who tampers with iniquity, he will have to bear that iniquity…

    He quotes George Q. Cannon: …throughout the entire ranks of the Priesthood, there would be a loss of the Spirit of God, a withdrawal of His gifts and blessing and His power, because of their not taking the proper measures to check and to expose their iniquity.

    We are concerned that too many times the interviewing leader in his personal sympathies for the transgressor, and in his love perhaps for the family of the transgressor, is inclined to waive the discipline which that transgressor demands. Too often a transgressor is forgiven and all penalties waived when that person should have been disfellowshipped or excommunicated. Too often a sinner is disfellowshipped when he or she should have been excommunicated.

    Remember that President Taylor said you will have to carry that sin yourself. Are you willing to do it, brethren?

    There can be no forgiveness without real and total repentance, and there can be no repentance without punishment. This is as eternal as is the soul.

    Please remember these things when somebody comes before you who has broken the laws of God.

    An additional area of interest, he makes a point of punishment by selectively quoting from Alma 42:16 Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment… while selectively ignoring mercy Alma 42:25 (just nine verses later)What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  62. Howard on July 9, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    Jeff G,
    You make it sound as if no opinions have been canonized… Not at all! I’m pointing out that a lot of opinion has been left out and that is the major advantage it leaves much less to sort through.

    We have no reason to assume that the brethren get their words and teachings exclusively from the scriptures. You simply assert this as a faith claim. To add *exclusively* is simply a B.S. foot-in-the-door spin to argue plausibility (not probability). I was quoting Bruce R. McConkie. If there were significantly more to it than that why would he hold that back?

    I offered Oak’s general vs exception comments as support for our deciding what to follow and what not to follow, not as an argument for the superiority of scriptures. Following the spirit trumps all.

    …the scriptures are filled by and large with the words of men, men who were once in the exact position that the brethren are today… If by filled you mean scribes edited, yes of course scribes were involved. When we read the scriptures the Moses, Jesus and Joseph stand out, don’t they? Were they Olivers?

    Sometimes they said “Thus saith the Lord,” but most often they did not. That’s not at all that different from the brethren of today. This is total obscuration. “Thus saith the Lord revelation” refers to sophisticated level of revelation that amounts to channeling the mind of God whether or not that phrase is included in the revelation. Channeling the mind of God is VERY different and FAR superior to the wordless Y/N method used by the brethren since Joseph’s death. Hugh B. Brown’s memoirs’: “(An idea) is submitted to the First Presidency and Twelve, thrashed out, discussed and rediscussed until it seems right. Then, kneeling together in a circle in the temple, they seek divine guidance and the president says, ‘I feel to say this is the will of the Lord.’ That becomes a revelation. It is usually not thought necessary to publish or proclaim it as such, but this is the way it happens.”

    The men who wrote the scriptures were no different than the brethren that lead the church today… Indeed but some of the men who spoke those scriptures were VERY different from the brethren that lead the church todayand that is the point. It is a major mistake in understanding to conflate Olivers with Josephs.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  63. IDIAT on July 9, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    Member A – I feel sorry for members who struggle with SSA but they need to remain celibate..
    Member B – I sympathize with homosexuals members. They shouldn’t have sex. But I don’t care what non-member homosexuals do.
    Member C – I sympathize with homosexuals in general. They should be able to have sexual relations with one another. The laws ought to be changed so they can have civil marriages.
    Member D – My son is gay, and I provide a bedroom for him and his lover to sleep in when they come to visit. I love him no matter what, and want him to be happy, but I wish he wasn’t gay.
    Member E – I have no problem with homosexuals. It is not against God’s laws. They should marry, adopt children, etc.
    Member F – I don’t agree with any of the stuff the church says about homosexuals and same sex marriage that’s in Handbook 2. I’ve prayed about these matters, and I believe church leaders are wrong and not inspired on the matter. But I’m not marching in any parades anytime soon. I just gripe about them on the bloggernacle and Facebook.
    Member G – I give money to pro-GLBT groups to lobby to change laws regarding SSM, and when there’s a chance to march in a parade, I go out and march with them.
    Member H – I belong to the local pro-GLBT chapter, and am it’s Vice-president. It’s a non-profit group to help people with SSA and their relationships with family members. We also go to our state legislatures and ask them to support laws allowing SSM. I technically don’t pay tithing to the church. I pay my 10% to this pro-GLBT chapter and consider myself a full tithe payer.
    Member I – My child is gay, got married to his partner when the judge struck down the law in Utah. I fully support their relationship, and do all within my power to support the GLBT movement. The church is behind the times, our leaders are homophobic old men, and do not receive revelation with respect to these issues.

    Those are some quick examples, and of course there are 1,000 shades of gray between those 9 examples. Do any of them merit a “Yes” when asked if they support, agree with or affiliate, any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church? At some point, the old “you’re either with us or against us” phrase comes into play. You either sustain church leaders as prophets, seers and revelators, or you don’t. I know no one likes to deal with absolutes, and we want to discuss fallability, human weakness, history, hindsight, etc.The church’s “teaching” on SSA/SSM is laid out clearly in Handbook 2. It isn’t complicated. If you don’t agree with the church’s position, then you should answer “Yes” to the question and explain why and let the chips fall. If you accept the bishop as a judge in Israel, then you accept the exercise of his jurisdiction over you, and if not his, then the stake president on appeal. If you don’t accept the bishop/SP as people having ecclesiastical jurisdiction over you, then the whole discussion is moot.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  64. Jeff G on July 9, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    Howard,

    Nobody is conflating Josephs and Olivers. What you seem to be doing, however, is conflating scriptures with Josephs and Brethren with Olivers. What I’m saying is that in the larger scope of things, the ratio and mixture of Josephs/Olivers in the church leadership is not all that different from what we find in the scriptures. This is what makes your endorsement of scriptures so strange in the face of your relentless criticism of the church leadership.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  65. Howard on July 9, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    Jeff G wrote: the ratio and mixture of Josephs/Olivers in the church leadership is not all that different from what we find in the scriptures.

    Yes I agree with this. The problem is the subtle but carefully crafted illusion that is spun to the membership that they are far more than Olivers even Jospehs and the starry eyed TBM celebrity (idol) worship that ensues.

    This is what makes your endorsement of scriptures so strange…

    We live in a time of easy and abundant communication, when the Olivers and there are many Q15, 70s, correlation, NewsRoom, Public Affairs, etc. speak or write “church broke” TBMs jump to obey! This is folly! It eventually results in our counting steps on the Sabbath boycotting Coke or excluding blacks or gays for ridiculously absurd reasons. How do you sort this high volume of folklore and opinion from an occasional gospel nugget or two? You can do a quick reasonableness test by bumping it against scripture and you can ask for a spiritual conformation.

    With all of these study-it-out and ask Oliver voices speaking with such certitude and not a single living Joseph voice among them the “church broke” yes man attitude is a collectively dangerous course to take.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  66. Jeff G on July 9, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    I guess I’m still confused, then. How is your ringing endorsement of scriptures which are mostly written and edited by Olivers any different from the way in which members treat their current leaders?

    I also get the impression that you think we should only follow leaders to the degree that they are Josephs rather than Olivers. Why can we not sustain Olivers as prophets, seers and revelators? Why do Olivers not merit our loyal devotion in the same way that Josephs do? Just because we believe them to be prophets, seers and revelators worthy of our loyal devotion does not mean that this presupposes or is evidence for a lie.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  67. Howard on July 9, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    Joseph founded our religion, he says the Bible is correct to the extent it is translated correctly and he set about correcting it’s translation so we have a lot of his endorsement for the Bible and according to him the BoM is the most correct book. He personally spoke most of the D&C. So he is setting these scriptures as a standard, is he not? Since Joseph obviously was a Joseph I find the scriptures a great place to begin. In fact you might say Joseph gave them a ringing endorsement.

    I also get the impression that you think we should only follow leaders to the degree that they are Josephs rather than Olivers. We should only feel obligated to follow leaders to the extent they speaking accurately for God and there is a much greater chance a Joseph is than an Oliver.

    Why can we not sustain Olivers as prophets, seers and revelators? Well members raise their hands in a ritual vote to sustain the brethren as prophets, seers and revelators but a revelator must reveal in order to magnify their calling, don’t you think? when was the last time a vision was revealed by an Oliver? Was it October 3, 1918 in D&C 138? In my opinion Y/N group inspiration does not qualify as revelation or come close to “thus saith the Lord” revelation, it’s the difference between a committee with a Magic 8 ball and a Prophet who enjoys conversations with God! Before the 1950s they weren’t referred to as prophets, seers and revelators.

    Why do Olivers not merit our loyal devotion in the same way that Josephs do?
    Christ is not HF. Joseph is not Christ. Oliver is not Joseph.

    I have no idea what you are trying to say with the last sentence in 66.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  68. Mormon Heretic on July 9, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    IDIAT, let’s go back 40 years in time, and look at your examples again.

    Member A – I feel sorry for members who ARE BLACK but they ARE PROHIBITED FROM PRIESTHOOD AND TEMPLE.
    Member B – I sympathize with BLACK members. They shouldn’t have TEMPLE/PRIESTHOOD ACCESS. But I don’t care what non-member BLACKS do.
    Member C – I sympathize with BLACKS in general. They should be able to have PRIESTHOOD/TEMPLE MARRIAGES. The laws ought to be changed so they can MARRY WHITE PEOPLE.
    Member D – My son HAS A BLACK WIFE, and I provide a bedroom for him and his lover to sleep in when they come to visit. I love him no matter what, and want him to be happy, but I wish he wasn’t MARRIED TO A BLACK WOMAN.
    Member E – I have no problem with BLACKS. It is not against God’s laws. They should marry WHITES, adopt WHITE children, etc.
    Member F – I don’t agree with any of the stuff the church says about BLACKS that’s in Handbook 2. I’ve prayed about these matters, and I believe church leaders are wrong and not inspired on the matter. But I’m not marching in any parades anytime soon. I just gripe about them on the bloggernacle and Facebook.
    Member G – I give money to pro-CIVIL RIGHTS groups to lobby to change laws regarding BLACKS, and when there’s a chance to march in a parade, I go out and march with them.
    Member H – I belong to the local pro-BLACK chapter, and am it’s Vice-president OF NAACP. It’s a non-profit group to help people OF COLOR and their relationships with family members. We also go to our state legislatures and ask them to support laws PREVENTING DISCRIMINATION. I technically don’t pay tithing to the church. I pay my 10% to this pro-BLACK chapter and consider myself a full tithe payer.
    Member I – My child is got married to his BLACK partner when the judge struck down the law in Utah. I fully support their relationship, and do all within my power to support the INTTERRACIAL MARRIAGE. The church is behind the times, our leaders are RACIST/homophobic old men, and do not receive revelation with respect to these issues.

    Looking back over 40 years, wasn’t the church behind the times? I don’t think we would allow Member A get a temple recommend today, but Member I didn’t 40 years ago. Now the situation is reversed.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  69. IDIAT on July 9, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    I disagree. Member A would still get a temple recommend today if the ban was still in effect today. There is no reversal because Member A (presuming the ban was in place today) would still be sustaining church leaders. I’ve mentioned this before — do you think members who were born, baptized and died before the priesthood ban was lifted are somehow inferior, or less righteous or not going to the Celestial Kingdom? Or, will they be judged by the light they were given? I pointed out that we like to use history and hindsight to claim “church leaders were wrong.” However, church leaders were right in 1950 and 1978 and in 2014. You may not like the explanation, but the Lord does things on his time table, not yours or anyone else’s. You may think you know better now, and presuming you lived before 1978, that you “knew better,” then, also. But, you don’t. You are not a prophet, seer and revelator. There is no such thing as “behind the times” if God is in charge of the time table.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  70. IDIAT on July 9, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Using your rationale-when Christ walked the earth, the gospel wasn’t preached to the Gentiles. After he died, it was. I guess Christ was behind the times, too.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  71. Mormon Heretic on July 9, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    IDIAT, but the ban isn’t in effect today. That’s my point. Member A 40 years ago was “in line”, but today it “out of line.” Likewise, Member I was “out of line”, but is “in line” now.

    Paul was ahead of his time in teaching gentiles, but Peter was behind the times. It’s a good thing that the revelation proved Paul right.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  72. Mormon Heretic on July 9, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    As for me, when the revelation came out in 1978, my reaction was a little bit of shock. I didn’t know black people couldn’t hold the priesthood, and was surprised to learn a ban had ever existed. (Granted I was young and never had met a black Mormon in my life, so the issue never came up, but yes, I was shocked to learn of the ban by way of the Press Release that got rid of the ban.)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  73. IDIAT on July 9, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    If I recall correctly, Christ said the gospel was not to be taken to the Gentiles while he was alive. Then after His death the “ban” was lifted. Was the “church” any less true while the ban on teaching the gospel to Gentiles was in effect? Were the apostles less than special witnesses of Christ? Paul wasn’t ahead of his time. The Lord was simply ready for the gospel to be preached to the Gentiles.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  74. Mormon Heretic on July 9, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Well IDIAT, I guess we need to get to the crux of the issue. If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then how do we reconcile the ban was good pre-1978 and ban is bad post-1978? To argue that God is the author of the ban makes God a changeable God. God was different yesterday than today. I don’t buy that argument at all. I think that the Church clearly agrees. The recent statement on LDS.org says

    The Church was established in 1830, during an era of great racial division in the United States. At the time, many people of African descent lived in slavery, and racial distinctions and prejudice were not just common but customary among white Americans. Those realities, though unfamiliar and disturbing today, influenced all aspects of people’s lives, including their religion. Many Christian churches of that era, for instance, were segregated along racial lines.

    Furthermore,

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

    Clearly the church is teaching the ban is man-made, not God-made.

    I think God wanted the Gentiles to have the gospel pre-Christ and post-Christ. Yet the Jews couldn’t handle mingling with the Gentiles. Jesus understood that, but taught the Samaritan woman at the well when she agitated to learn more. Paul agitated for the gentiles too. Peter and the rest of the conservative Jews didn’t want gentiles in the Church, but God did. It takes agitation to get revelation (as I’ve said before.)

    Joseph Smith said

    Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive; and at the same time more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of His punishments, and more ready to detect in every false way, than we are apt to suppose Him to be…

    Clearly, it is the conservatives who are preventing revelation. God would give us a lot more revelation, but like Jesus to the Samaritan woman at the well, he won’t give it if we don’t ask for it. Conservatives keep telling us to quit asking and that is just plain wrong.

    So back to the point of the post, I stand by my point that Member A is behind the times, while Member I is ahead of the times and the brethren are acting more like Peter, not Paul. We do need to agitate like the woman at the well if we want revelation, but God moves at our “slow” pace unless he finds a Joseph who really seeks revelation. I’d settle for a Peter who moves slower than Paul, but it seems like we’re stuck without even a Peter: 2 revelations in 100 years! I’d love to have a Peter, or a Woodruff or a Kimball among the brethren, but they don’t move unless the government colludes against polygamy, or outside forces push for black equality.

    I think Kate Kelly is more like Paul on this issue. Perhaps this is her Isle of Patmos, this is a thorn in the side, and she will be exonerated as Paul has been. (Or perhaps she will just have to be a martyr like both Peter and Paul.)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  75. Andrew S on July 9, 2014 at 6:17 PM

    MH,

    I have to quibble on your comment 74.

    The church commonly makes statements that have enough openings or vagueness to allow for multiple interpretations from readers, and plausible deniability on the church’s part.

    In the quotes you have from the recent statement on race and priesthood, the church is not saying that the ban is man-made, rather than God-made. It is simply saying that it denies any responsibility for the theories of the past that black skin is a curse.

    So, this actually fits the position that the church has continually staked on the subject in recent years: ‘We don’t know exactly why we had a ban, but we don’t take responsibility for any of the reasons many folks are putting out, regardless of whether past leaders actually espoused those views.”

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  76. Mormon Heretic on July 9, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    Andrew, I’m sure people will quibble, but “Those realities, though unfamiliar and disturbing today, influenced all aspects of people’s lives, including their religion” sounds to me like they’re blaming man, not God (which is where the blame surely belongs, IMO.) This statement seems to distance the “We don’t know” statements following the Randy Bott debacle, as well as First Presidency statement from 1969.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  77. Andrew S on July 9, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    MH,

    Well, it’s OK that it “sounds” to you like that. But that’s the point — different people can read different things into the statements. Note that this includes whether they will find the statement to be authoritative in the first place (e.g., when people critique statements of the newsroom or critique anonymously penned articles.)

    But notice that the statement is not saying, for example “The Prophets absorbed racist realities from their surrounding cultures” or “The ban occurred because of Brigham Young’s racism, not because of God.” Those are dots that the reader *may* connect, but which another reader may dispute.

    Let’s go back to the Randy Bott statement, which you can see here:

    The Church issued the following statement today in response to news media requests:

    The positions attributed to BYU professor Randy Bott in a recent Washington Post article absolutely do not represent the teachings and doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. BYU faculty members do not speak for the Church. It is unfortunate that the Church was not given a chance to respond to what others said.

    The Church’s position is clear—we believe all people are God’s children and are equal in His eyes and in the Church. We do not tolerate racism in any form.

    For a time in the Church there was a restriction on the priesthood for male members of African descent. It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church but what is clear is that it ended decades ago. Some have attempted to explain the reason for this restriction but these attempts should be viewed as speculation and opinion, not doctrine. The Church is not bound by speculation or opinions given with limited understanding.

    We condemn racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church.

    Notice how the “We do not know” sentiments of then are also buttressed with a disavowal of the attempts to explain a reason as being “speculation and opinion, not doctrine.” Notice how the “We do not know” sentiments also come with the “We condemn racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the church.”

    But they never explicitly say the leaders were racist. They don’t say it then and they don’t say it now. In fact, when the church says in its race and priesthood article that it *disavows* the theories advanced in the past, please note what the word “disavow” means. it means to deny any responsibility for. The church is denying any responsibility for theories advanced in the past, so it can’t then say that the ban was from the leaders.

    This is before getting into the stuff the statement discusses about the leaders feeling they needed a revelation to change the ban. With all of that, it is completely plausible for someone to believe that the ban was totally OK for its time, and not having the ban now is totally OK for our time.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  78. mh on July 9, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Andrew, The current statement on lds.org also doesn’t specifically state ‘God is the author of the ban’, so anyone that makes that statement is not supported in the lds.org statement as well. It is also a much clearer and better statement that supersedes the Bott statement, so I think it would be better to rely on the more recent statement than the Bott statement. Clearly it explains much better the racism surrounding the ban than the”we don’t know” Bott statement, and I would argue that the church doesn’t say “we don’t know” in the new lds.org statement.

    As for someone believing the ban was ok for a time, well I’ve addressed that issue and it just doesn’t square with the idea that God’s the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. People can and will believe illogical things, but they are, of course, illogical and not supported by the new statement on race.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  79. hawkgrrrl on July 9, 2014 at 8:27 PM

    Another party line, though, lest we forget: God is the same always. Man changes over time. God deals with man where man is. Therefore, God appears to change, but it’s just man changing.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  80. IDIAT on July 9, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    With all of that, it is completely plausible for someone to believe that the ban was totally OK for its time, and not having the ban now is totally OK for our time. Thanks Andrew S for understanding where I’m coming from.

    MH – I’ve asked but you haven’t answered. Do you think members who lived prior to the ban removal, and who supported church leaders instead of ‘agitating’ for change, are going to hell or what? Do you think members who died before 1978 hit the spirit world needing to repent of their support of leaders who kept the ban in place? When I say God doesn’t change I mean he is not evolving. Things change all the time. We had the law of Moses. Now we don’t. None of the change we experience means God has changed. Anyway, we’re way off topic. The TR questions are phrased in the present tense. They are not conditioned upon what doctrine or policy or teaching might have existed in the past or how they might exist in the future. So, if you do find yourself supporting, agreeing with or affiliating with a group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the church, you need to answer ‘yes.’

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  81. Mormon Heretic on July 9, 2014 at 11:42 PM

    I’ve asked but you haven’t answered. Do you think members who lived prior to the ban removal, and who supported church leaders instead of ‘agitating’ for change, are going to hell or what?

    What. How do I know? I am not their judge. God isn’t going to assign someone to hell on a single-issue, but rather an entire lifetime. I find the question strange on multiple levels.

    Do you think members who died before 1978 hit the spirit world needing to repent of their support of leaders who kept the ban in place?

    Sure, and the leaders who made and supported the ban need to repent too. We all need to repent, so I don’t find the leader’s situation unique at all. I have plenty of things to repent for too.

    So, if you do find yourself supporting, agreeing with or affiliating with a group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the church, you need to answer ‘yes.’

    So I guess when the LDS Church hires FLDS polygamists to build LDS churches, they are affiliating with apostate groups and should be denied temple recommends too. Is that what you’re saying? And if it’s not what you’re saying, then why are FLDS being paid to build LDS Churches? (Because it does happen, especially here in Utah. The fact of the matter is the FLDS labor costs are much lower than other construction companies.) Is this situation a temple recommend violation?

    Furthermore, by your criteria (thank heaven you’re not my bishop, or Paul’s bishop), Paul wouldn’t have been eligible for a temple recommend because he affiliated with gentiles and disagreed with Peter. I find your logic a bit strange. At what point can one disagree with a leader? You gave options A-I. Which option is apostate in your view?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  82. Geoff -Aus on July 10, 2014 at 5:47 AM

    Ji, Obviously the bishop should be able to use his discernment/inspiration. The reality is the church has developed the TR interview system to the point that, your less serious idea could be implimented. Perhaps the bishop is there to refuse those who he knows have problems?

    I have had a recommend continuously for 44 years except for 6 months when a bishop refused to renew my TR, on the strength of emails I exchanged with the HP group leader after I queried some of the assertions on an email he sent to most of the ward list, in opposition to gay marriage. I did not say I supported gay marriage, only questioned his assertions.

    The bishop had copies of our emails, and so did the SP, but he insisted the bishop renew the recommend.

    Both the HP group leader and bishop are total obedience types, and see any questioning, as lack of support for leaders. Is that inspiration, or just his perception that unquestioning obedience equals righteousness.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  83. Douglas on July 10, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    #82 – for your then bishop to deny renewal of your TR (note that he was overruled by your SP, and SPs don’t usually do that unless it’s imperative…e.g., they give their subordinate bishops latitude to perform in their callings as they see fit). Certainly the HP GL can voice HIS opinions regarding gay marriage, and for all I know he might be in virtual lockstep with mine, but it’s wrong to judge your fitness as a member and PH holder by them.

    There are many in this forum that I disagree with on various issues, especially gays and the Church, but I would consider it utterly wrong to judge them by said views. I speak for myself, not the Church, the Brethren are perfectly capable of stating the Church’s position. I would that, like the late J. Golden Kimball, they did do w/o the mealy-mouthed approach I see employed. With all due respect to the profession of a VERY good lady friend, the PR gang has taken over, and it stinks. Verily, iron men in wooden ships have been replaced by wooden men in iron ships.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  84. IDIAT on July 10, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    MH – I’ve already pointed out that merely rubbing elbow or shoulders with people or groups that have teachings or practices contrary to those of the church is not “affiliation.” By your definition, we couldn’t even do missionary work. My dictionary says affiliation is to unite. You and I both know that when ward members and the members of the local Catholic diocese coordinate their efforts and join together to help the community clean up after a storm, that’s not what is meant by affiliation. Ward members aren’t embracing Catholic doctrines and teachings for a day of clean up. Neither is the church “affiliating” with polygamist sect members who help build chapels in Utah. So let’s get beyond these strained uses of the word “affiliation.” As for the rest, we’ll agree to disagree. I don’t think we can judge members who lived in different eras by our “progressive” views or by revealed knowledge that we might enjoy today. In other words, the church was just as “true” in 1830 as it is today. The saving ordinances that we enjoy today, and from about 1844 forward, are the same. Yet, other things were revealed post 1844, the priesthood ban was lifted, etc. And of course we believe many more things will be revealed. But I don’t think church leaders (or members) pre-1978 will need to “repent” of the priesthood ban.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  85. Mormon Heretic on July 10, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    IDIAT, but you still haven’t answered my questions. At what point can one disagree with a leader? You gave options A-I. Which option is apostate in your view?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  86. Mormon Heretic on July 10, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    “I don’t think we can judge members who lived in different eras by our “progressive” views or by revealed knowledge that we might enjoy today.”

    Well then the God you believes is a changeable God.

    Are there standards of righteousness or not? Because I don’t think that members pre-1978 can get away with believing that blacks were not valiant in the pre-existence. They need to repent of that teaching specifically. Sure the atonement will help cover some sins, but pre-1978 Mormons can’t continue to believe that blacks are inferior. They need to repent/change and accept that all are alike unto God. Repent=change false beliefs. Most certainly Mormons who died pre-1978 must change/repent.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  87. Douglas on July 10, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    #84 – This is where we’d HOPE that common sense and being led by the Spirit would suffice for most situations. Case in point: many moons ago, when I’d been in the Church but a few years, I knew a fellow from Mesa, a rather corupulent man (and his wife and four “lovely” daughters lived high on the hog as well…) who had the unfortunate situation of picking his blood relations unwisely. This man was perpetually scrutinized and almost treated as a pariah for the “sin” of being related to and having the same last name as those cretins that once ran the so-called “Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times”. A more faithful man and good PH holder I have never known. I hope when all things are rolled up in front of the Great Judge that this man is given a huge apology for the mistreatment received.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  88. IDIAT on July 10, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    FWIW – I would be honored to be your bishop. I’d call you as a counselor and we’d have some wonderful discussions. Or, I’d call you to serve in the nursery and put you out of your misery:) Your question: Which option is apostate? Probably I. C, D, E, F, G and H merit a “yes” to the question, and some discussion and explanation. Might or might result in not issuing a recommend. A & B probably don’t merit a “yes.” At some point we have to get into a discussion about what it means to “sustain” the FP/Q12 as prophets seers and revelators. That is really where all of this discussion is leading. There is no text book definition of what it means to “sustain” church leaders. l don’t believe you have to agree with everything church leaders say or do. I may not like some of the “policies” in the handbook, nor understand the rationale behind them. I’m still scratching my head over some of the sealing policies. But I don’t attribute any ill will or evil intent behind the church’s positions. I may be wrong, but you seem to imply the priesthood ban was completely “man made” and had nothing to do with God’s will. If that is correct, I am happy you have received definitive, personal revelation to that effect. I haven’t. Bloggers like to use the extreme – “Would you have participated in MMM had your stake president told you to kill innocent people?” No, I don’t think I would have. I don’t think the Spirit would have confirmed that instruction. If I get a phone call from President Monson tomorrow asking me to leave my family and go serve a mission, would I go? Yes, I imagine I would get confirmation on that. I think you can support, agree with and affiliate with individuals or groups whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the church. It doesn’t necessarily make you apostate. But it might not allow you into the temple. I think you and I have a different opinion on whether God is changeable. In the OT, only certain Israelites held the AP. Now everyone can. Does that make God changeable? Of course not. He commands different things to different people at different times. Standards of righteousness change. It was righteous to be polygamous in the days of Abraham. Now it is not. One thing is sure. We’ll get a better handle on what was “right” and “wrong” when we hit the Spirit World. Until then, I’m listening to my PB that says I should follow the prophet. It greatly simplifies my life.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  89. Howard on July 10, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    We’ll get a better handle on what was “right” and “wrong” when we hit the Spirit World.

    It’s really pretty simple right is to move toward the divine and wrong is to move away. It get’s complicated when we move away from teaching correct principles, and letting them govern themselves to bright line rules enforced by the church. In this case we can more toward “right” by moving toward the beatitudes and away from OT enforced rules.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  90. IDIAT on July 10, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    MH – you might want to read Faust, Called and Chosen, October 2005 General Conference. President Faust articulates why there is safety in following church leaders, and in doing so, why I think church members who lived before 1978 will be judged by what the practices and principles of the church were at the time they lived. Things have changed, and will continue to change. I accept that. But I hope I’m not held to a yet unknown standard that might exist 50 years from now.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  91. Mormon Heretic on July 10, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    “I think you and I have a different opinion on whether God is changeable.”

    As long as you own it, I guess I’m fine with that.

    “In the OT, only certain Israelites held the AP. Now everyone can. Does that make God changeable? Of course not.”

    This is a perfect example of where you and I disagree on God’s changeableness. You blame this change on God. I blame it on man.

    God allows man to do all sorts of evil things (holocaust, World Wars, etc), but these are certainly not God’s will. These are man’s will and man’s errors. God allowed Israel to have a king, but he said it was a bad idea. As for priesthood, Numbers 11:29 “And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!

    But the Israelites were stiffnecked, so instead of making everyone a prophet, God gave them the lower law and Levitical priesthood. God didn’t want to do that–God has always wanted to pour out his spirit among all. But man can’t handle it, so God gives lower laws (Levitical priesthood.) God didn’t want to limit his spirit, man did. God is not changeable. For anyone to argue that God wants to limit priesthood to males only, argues for a changeable God. I guess God is changeable because of Man’s imperfections, but if we wouldn’t limit God’s power, “would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets”, including women. Why do we limit God’s priesthood among us? It isn’t God limiting priesthood, it is man limiting priesthood.

    “He commands different things to different people at different times. Standards of righteousness change. “

    I find this an especially astounding statement. Most conservatives say that standards of righteousness do not change. I can’t help but say that your God is changeable, and your definition of changeable is quite malleable.

    “I’m listening to my PB that says I should follow the prophet. It greatly simplifies my life.”

    I’m not sure what PB stands for, but Brigham Young disagrees with your simple life. He said

    I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blink self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken the influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually.”

    - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 9, p. 150

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  92. Howard on July 10, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    IDIAT,
    Only the President of the church can receive revelation for the church. So what we find over and over and over are very self serving statements from the brethren who are NOT currently the President. This is how the 14 Fundamentals of Following the Prophet was introduced and it was how Packer attempted to have the Family Proc. canonized. It makes their job a lot easier if the membership are just mobots.

    From Faust’s talk I do not know how we can expect to be in full harmony with the Spirit of the Lord if we are not in harmony with the President of the Church and the other prophets, seers, and revelators. There are some problems here. First the premise is just wrong as many could testify during Prop. 8 and may others can testify today regarding women and LGBTs. Second these “prophets, seers, and revelators” don’t and therefore aren’t, it’s just a honorary title. Let’s stay awake so we don’t end up drinking the Kool-Aid.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  93. Howard on July 10, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Exaltation
    Cloud Atlas includes the story of an imprisoned clone, or “fabricant,” called Sonmi. It takes place in a futuristic Korea which is governed by a political doctrine known as Unanimity. Fabricants have limited IQ and vocabulary, but know that after twelve years of difficult service they are promised to be sent to a place called Xultation, but instead turns out to be just death! However as she ascends in consciousnesses it becomes noticed as “deviations from Catechism” she was examined but found to be performing as genomed. At this point, Sonmi finds her thirst for knowledge growing. She eavesdrops on conversations and watches and she finds herself pondering the doubts about society and Unanimity.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  94. IDIAT on July 10, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    PB means patriarchal blessing. Brigham Young? You mean that guy who was a polygamist and racist that you hate so much? You’re listening to him?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  95. Mormon Heretic on July 10, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    Brigham wasn’t wrong about everything. Besides, I would think you’d find that quote authoritative.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  96. IDIAT on July 10, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    Nah. BY said a lot of things? Blood atonement, anyone? I follow living prophets. I respect the dead ones. I understand that quote and many others to say we need to get confirmation of the things our leaders teach and do. I have received my confirmation. If you are anything like Howard, and can’t accept the things President Faust was saying to us at priesthood session, this conversation is done. See you on some other thread.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  97. Troth Everyman on July 10, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    There are so many levels of affiliation with other groups and ideas that should merit more oversight and scrutiny than ordain women and GLBT groups. . Why just pick those?

    Here are a few to add to the list:

    Does one work for a farm or corporation that makes hops for beer and alcohol use?
    Anyone work currently for a multilevel marketing scheme?
    Does one affiliate with an organization with poor human rights records?
    Does one buy products built through slave labor? That’s support isn’t it?
    Does your business get involved with investments meant to prey on the poor, or take advantage of people?/is your work business model predatory?
    Does your employment count on people not being able to pay back loans?
    Do you sell snake oil by being involved in the supplement industry?
    We believe in honoring the laws of the land…but do you support things that currently are not legal? Like some types of immigration? Perhaps your parents still haven’t crossed the border? No recommend for you!
    Does one work in a casino?
    What if I believe it is okay for people to smoke weed in some instances?
    What about divorce lawyers?
    What about lawyers who shelter criminals at the expense of innocent people?
    What about social workers…whoa…some of them associate with lots of people and donate to causes that are outside of church doctrine.

    Wait what about….

    Why only pick ordain women or GLBT group affiliation to deny recommends? Lets not be hypocritical here. Lets make our oversight more equal across the board and start denying recommends for anyone in the above categories.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 7

  98. Howard on July 10, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    Blood atonement, anyone?

    Anyone? Sure IDIAT I’ll take it on if you’re willing to risk your TR by reading what I have to say and if you’ll allow personal shamanic revelation as my source! When you are being trained by the spirit you are being given an immense amount of information, far more than you might imagine from reading this summary and far too much for one sitting with the spirit and the lessons are not necessary continuous. It takes calendar time to complete this training, I was trained more or less every day, all day for a total of 7 years which covered many, many subjects but the concept of blood atonement alone could have easily take a few months to hash out. My guess the blood atonement lessons were interrupted, cut short, had not finished yet as were several subjects with me.

    Here is a brief summary of what I was taught regarding it. If you are messed up enough to take an innocent life in murder (obviously) much is required to get you straightened out. That includes understanding the murder from your point of view including all the major factors that brought you to this murderous place (this is an immense undertaking in it’s own right), you also need to understand it in detail from the victim’s point of view, from the point of view of the victim’s loved ones and friends and from the point of view of an impartial witness and from the point of view of your loved ones and friends. You are taken through each of these viewpoints in great detail and none of this yet addresses repairing the victim! It’s takes months of teaching to come to a fairly complete understanding of these different views including the underlying psychology. If these lessons were not completed but BY understood that a complete knowledge of the victim’s view point was very critical (which is how it was taught to me, and of course makes perfect sense) he could have easily come to the conclusion that the only way a murderer can come to this understanding and be saved is to traumatically lose his life as well and you’ll be doing him a favor by killing him and it must be done during his second estate.

    In truth there are other means for him to acquire the vast majority of the knowledge he needs to overcome it spiritually/psychologically for himself so his blood may not be necessary from that point of view but the victims survivors may well demand it and that is another complicating issue that must be resolved.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  99. Howard on July 10, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    With regard to #93 the point is that exaltation results from awakening not from being a very obedient worker bee. In fact exaltation IS being awakened.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  100. New Iconoclast on July 11, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    For all that has been written about following the prophets, and especially President Woodruff’s famous pronouncement from the October 1890 GC:

    The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.

    …it bears repeating, since it’s been said before but not often enough, that the logic is circular: The president of the Church says that the Lord will never lead the president of the Church astray. As a statement, at face value, that demands prayerful scrutiny, not blind obedience (and FWIW, I think President Woodruff might be appalled at the misuse made of this statement by the drinkers of brethren-worship Kool-Aid). I can easily imagine Jim Jones or L. Ron Hubbard saying something similar – “The powers that be will never allow me to lead you astray; drink the Kool-Aid; hook up to the E-Meter.” Only by our own connection with the Spirit can we (as BY rightly said) discern the truth.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  101. IDIAT on July 12, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Sure, it’s circular. So is the “promise” in Moroni. I have never said we should blindly follow church leaders. Let’s put your connection with the Spirit in real life terms. Here are some of the issues with the church that seem to give people struggle:
    Abortion, SSA, SSM, Female Ordination, All things Feminist, Practically All Things Handbook Two on policy issues; Modesty, Scouts, Church Discipline, Temple Ceremony and Worthiness, City Creek, Polygamy, Ward/Stake Boundaries. I think you get the idea. Most of those issues ultimately land at the doorstep of the President of the church. As a member, as you pray about whatever issue and you come up with a different feeling than church leaders, you might want to ask yourself some questions: do I defer to 15 prophets, seers and revelators who have prayed about and implemented this policy or position or do I trust my personal revelation over theirs? I can’t anyone how to resolve conflicts. I do think that part of the checks and balances in church administration is the fact that we do have 15 leaders who are unanimous. And when I think of astray, I think of major doctrinal issues that would impede our ability to make it to the celestial kingdom. Most of the stuff we struggle with doesn’t impact our eternal progress.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  102. New Iconoclast on July 12, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    Sure, it’s circular. So is the “promise” in Moroni.

    Huh? No, it’s not; it’s not Moroni saying Moroni will testify to you of the truth.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  103. Douglas on July 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    For sake of those that want to just get to the punch line and save the blather, I give the PL first: All of items mentioned in #97 (Troth Everyman…) can be addressed on a case-by-case basis by the applicable “JUDGE in Israel”…rather than just read rote from the Handbook of Instructions like a good little robot, the bishop might actually have to use JUDGEMENT (groan!)

    [Does one work for a farm or corporation that makes hops for beer and
    alcohol use?] Or work for a distributor driving a beer truck, or at a convenience store, etc…methinks this is a personal decision as to the involvement that one has with WoW items.

    [Anyone work currently for a multilevel marketing scheme?] MLM is NOT inherently dishonest though I avoid ‘em like the plauge (I’ve yet to see one that showed a likelihood of profit, and “A Ferengi w/o profit is no Ferengi at all…”)

    [Does one affiliate with an organization with poor human rights records?] According to WHOM? Again, left to one’s personal discretion…if the Church leaders felt that boycotting a particular business was THAT important, they’d mention it!

    [Does one buy products built through slave labor? That’s support isn’t it?] So when my office manager buy GSA products made by the various industrial enterprises sponsored by the Bureau of Prisons, THAT should impine on my worthiness?

    [Does your business get involved with investments meant to prey on the poor, or take advantage of people?/is your work business model predatory?] Likely an “eye of the beholder” situation, as long as one is not under investigation for fraud or similar violations of law.

    [Does your employment count on people not being able to pay back loans?] Hmm…and some criticized the late SWK back in his day b/c he got wealthy in part by being a debt collector, supposedly shaking down his fellow Saints to satisfy his clients. You can’t please everyone, so…

    [Do you sell snake oil by being involved in the supplement industry?] Again, an “In the eye of the beholder” situation. I stay away from Shaklee, Noni, Mannatech, etc but if one’s dumb enough to fail to do their due dilligence as either business participant and/or customer, then they deserve to be parted from their money.

    [We believe in honoring the laws of the land…but do you support things that currently are not legal?] AFAIK, no, but it’s quite alright to advocate for change/repeal of said law(s).

    [Like some types of immigration?] The Church ought not to tactily encourage illegal immigration, the plight of some “illegals” notwithstanding.

    [Perhaps your parents still haven’t crossed the border?] Mine were busy pullng a fast one on Chief Massasoit.

    [No recommend for you!] If you REALLY believe what you posted and weren’t just employing hyperbole, I’d feel bad for any ward you were called to shepherd.

    [Does one work in a casino?] I believe at one point it was grounds for denial, but nowadays it’s no problem. I still play a hand of blackjack on occasion myself and don’t see why it should keep me out of the Lord’s house.

    [What if I believe it is okay for people to smoke weed in some instances?] I can believe it too…depends on the “ok”…”ok” as in ought not to be prosecuted as a crime, or “ok” as in you’d teach the youth in Sunday School that “Gawd” wants them to smoke a doob?

    [What about divorce lawyers?] What about ‘em? Being one or employing services of same? Am I “bad” b/c I pay hefty legal fees to ensure some manner of life for myself in wake of getting my ex out of my life?

    [What about lawyers who shelter criminals at the expense of innocent people?] This is a red herring. Even ‘criminals’ have the right to unstinting legal represenation. The greatest ‘crime’ is the ability of the Almight State, or, more properly, those in power, to use public resources to utterly crush whomsoever they will, rule of law be damned. Juries decide guilt, not their counsel. If you’re in deep doo-doo, either facing criminal charges or a nasty divorce, you want an attorney that could get Al Capone off while holding the bloody head of ‘Bugs’ Moran in open court.

    [What about social workers…whoa…some of them associate with lots of people and donate to causes that are outside of church doctrine.] I have my own axe to grind against same but I’d have to see evidence that said SWs are actively working against the Church and/or teaching false doctrine.

    Again, let the Judges perform some JUDGEMENT.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

Subscribe without commenting

Archives

%d bloggers like this: