UPDATED: Ten Random Questions to Ponder Prior to General Conference

by: Jeff Spector

April 1, 2011

I updated the post with the actual results from GC.

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Here are a few questions I had prior to tomorrow’s opening of General Conference.  They are pretty random. I had a few others, but I just limited it to ten and a bonus. Just for fun.

1.   Pretty Standard – How many new Temples will be announced and where?  We have come to expect at least one, usually more Temple announcements at General Conference. 3 were announced , all in North America. Two in the US and one in Canada.  Fort Collins, CO, Meridian, Idaho and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

2.   Will BPK give another talk that will make people mad?  He appears to be in declining health, so will he be there at all? Yes, he was there. they had him in a tall chair at the podium. And yes, there are some who will be mad, but not like last time.

3.   Will classic phrases be used at this General Conference such as: “calling and election made sure” or “the dispensation of the fullness of times?” What others do you remember that you don’t hear much anymore? No, neither of those I suggested was utter, but as someone else mentioned, “Beloved Prophet” was probably the winner,

4.   How many times, or how many talks will use the word ‘Pornography?”  It appears to be a major problem in the Church and has been addressed a lot. Mentioned at least three or four times that I counted, no talk was specifically given on the subject.

5.   How many times will the talks refer to the “New Handbook?” Or how many will be about the new handbook? No talks, but it was mentioned twice that I counted.

6.   Will there be a native language speaker whose talk is translated into English for the rest of us?  It seemed odd that they do not allow those who speak a language other than English to give their talks in their language and let us be the ones who hear the translation. My answer, probably not, but I wish. No, of course not. But I only heard one Spanish speaker who kind of struggled with his English.

7.   Will there be a talk obliquely referencing “in-born tenancies” or other such phrase referring to homosexuality without saying it? Or will someone just say it? Not that I noticed. There was an oblique reference, but nothing like last October.

8.   How many talks will refer to the recent events in Japan and New Zealand? Japan was mentioned a lot, New Zealand, not mentioned, political troubles in the middle east got some airplay.

9.   Will any talks speak to the issue of how inactive the Church really is? And what to do about it? Two talks mentioned rescuing and plenty of missionary references.

10. Will there be any new policy announcements or changes in the way things are done today? I kind of doubt this since the “New Handbooks” just came out. Nope

Bonus Question: Will President Uchtdorf refer to flying in any of his talks this weekend? How can he not? YES, (Twice, which we both talks he gave) and even a mention of when he WAS going to talk about flying.

Any other question you have that you are hoping to get answered at this General Conference?

43 Responses to UPDATED: Ten Random Questions to Ponder Prior to General Conference

  1. Paul on April 1, 2011 at 8:20 AM

    I do remember leaning over to my son in one conference a couple of years ago and predicting at least one airplane story from Elder U and got none that talk. :-(

    As for #9, there have been many talks along the way about rescuing and reactivation — I’d be surprised if we didn’t hear more about it here. But maybe that’s not what you mean.

    I can’t wait!

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  2. Mike S on April 1, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    1. Pretty Standard – How many new Temples will be announced and where? We have come to expect at least one, usually more Temple announcements at General Conference.
    Two new temples. One in the US. One in South America.

    2. Will BPK give another talk that will make people mad? He appears to be in declining health, so will he be there at all?
    Yes. Some people soften when heavy-handed methods don’t seem to work. Others “double down” and hammer harder. He seems the second.

    3. Will classic phrases be used at this General Conference such as: “calling and election made sure” or “the dispensation of the fullness of times?” What others do you remember that you don’t hear much anymore?
    No -they won’t be used. Talks have become less definitive and more mushy. I don’t expect we’ll hear “last generation”, “Negro brothers”, “equal rights amendment” or “I believe that this Church is true”

    4. How many times, or how many talks will use the word ‘Pornography?” It appears to be a major problem in the Church and has been addressed a lot.
    3 talks. One in the priesthood session, one in Saturday general session, and one on Sunday.

    5. How many times will the talks refer to the “New Handbook?” Or how many will be about the new handbook?
    The “New Handbook” will be presented as an inspired product. People will be referred to consulting it and not bothering people in SLC.

    6. Will there be a native language speaker whose talk is translated into English for the rest of us? It seemed odd that they do not allow those who speak a language other than English to give their talks in their language and let us be the ones who hear the translation. My answer, probably not, but I wish.
    This would be really cool, but it is NOT going to happen for logistical reasons. The Church has dozens of translators who can translate from English to German, or any of dozens of other languages. If someone spoke in Spanish, for example, it wouldn’t just need to be translated into English, but also to all of those other languages. This would therefore involve translating things twice, which introduces errors, or else finding a whole other set of translators who can translate directly from Spanish -> German, etc.

    7. Will there be a talk obliquely referencing “in-born tenancies” or other such phrase referring to homosexuality without saying it? Or will someone just say it?
    No one will want to touch the subject. They might express love for the “others”, but no real resolution will be made. Perhaps if we don’t talk about it, the problem will just go away.

    8. How many talks will refer to the recent events in Japan and New Zealand?
    Four. Two will just express concern for them. One will talk about the Church’s humanitarian efforts there (ie. giving some money to the Japan Red Cross). One will talk about the miracle that no missionaries were hurt, that they were forewarned to leave (which does beg the question why the rest of the people weren’t forewarned to leave).

    9. Will any talks speak to the issue of how inactive the Church really is? And what to do about it?
    They aren’t going to touch this with a ten-foot pole. They need to put a positive spin on things. They need to talk about how the work is going forward. People like being on a winning team. They may recycle a talk about reaching out to the “lost sheep” in general, but they will never mention the inactivity rates directly.

    10. Will there be any new policy announcements or changes in the way things are done today? I kind of doubt this since the “New Handbooks” just came out.
    No. There may be a random opinion, like earrings or tattoos, which over the next few years may be interpreted by many in the Church as a new “policy”, but as far as a “Thus sayeth the Lord…” type of thing, it’s been decades since we’ve actually heard this. So I’m not holding my breath.

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  3. KLC on April 1, 2011 at 9:04 AM

    I think your #5 is a sure thing after going to the follow-up WW training broadcast and seeing the video of the Korean sister preparing for a meeting formerly known as Enrichment. They emphasized that the first thing she did was read and ponder the handbook. It struck me as both strange and prophetic. Strange because I see the handbook as a reference not a book of scripture. To prepare for my next sacrament mtg talk should I read and ponder the dictionary? Prophetic because I saw hints of the new handbook taking its place beside the proclamation on the family as a new quasi scripture.

    I’ll add a #11. Who will be the first to use the word “supernal” and how many times will this word that no one ever uses be used in GC?

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  4. Dustin on April 1, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    New temples are typically announced in Oct. so I don’t expect to hear any. You never know, though.

    I doubt there will be much mention of the new handbooks since they had two broadcasts on them since last conference.

    However, I expect to hear a lot about Japan, New Zealand, and pornography.

    Personally, I love General Conference for the impressions I get and for the spiritual experience I typically enjoy there.

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  5. hawkgrrrl on April 1, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    How about oblique references to the Broadway musical out now? My guess is that we might hear that from a speaker who felt the PR line was too soft.

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  6. Jeff Spector on April 1, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    hawk,

    It will be oblique at best, about the world watching us and seeing how we act. Being good examples, etc

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  7. Jeff Spector on April 1, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    Mike S,

    “One will talk about the miracle that no missionaries were hurt, that they were forewarned to leave (which does beg the question why the rest of the people weren’t forewarned to leave).

    If they do, I’ll be surprised because I know it didn’t happen.

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  8. David on April 1, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    Jeff: details?

    I highly doubt anyone will mention New Zealand other than in passing. Japan seems much more likely given it’s place in the temporal timeline.

    My votes on some other terms/phrases:

    “Beloved Prophet”: 37 (At least 1x in each talk)
    “Astray” (as in don’t go astray): 5x
    Humanitarian Giving: 5x

    But, the most interesting one will be a contrast between the focus on Prophet/Church and a focus on Christ. Based off my own informal observations in my local ward, I would guess there will be a least a 3-to-1 ratio of focus/wording on the Church/Prophet versus talks that focus/wording on Christ.

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  9. Mike S on April 1, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Jeff:

    It is from a “friend of a friend”, but I have already received word that the missionaries in Sendai (the major city closest to the quake) were out-of-town at a zone conference that day, so were gone when the tsunami hit the coastal areas of that city.

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  10. Jeff Spector on April 1, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    We have a friend who is in the Sendai mission. the Mission President was driving back from Zone conference when the quake hit. We wasn’t able to get back to town. There were a pair of Missionaries who went to the Church building right after the quake hit but before the Tsunami. They got into the building but their bikes were washed away. They tried to get them but it happened too fast.

    So, I didn’t hear any stories of miraculous promptings.

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  11. Mike S on April 1, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    Jeff:

    Thanks. As I said, my story was from a “friend of a friend”. I stand corrected. But, as in this case, these things often take on a life of their own. Absolute accuracy doesn’t always correlate with retelling as faith-promoting stories.

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  12. Jeff Spector on April 1, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Mike S.

    There was a Zone Conference but not that zone.

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  13. FireTag on April 1, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Umm. I’ve got a post for tomorrow that will talk about events in the world other than Christchurch and Sendai. Now I’m REALLY curious why none of the comments above focus elsewhere.

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  14. Nick Literski on April 1, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    7. Will there be a talk obliquely referencing “in-born tenancies” or other such phrase referring to homosexuality without saying it? Or will someone just say it?

    Dalin Oaks will give an impassioned speech on how the “religious freedom” of determining how people outside his religion behave is “under attack” by “intolerant” forces who “discriminate” against religious persons by daring to criticize their words and actions.

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  15. Jeff Spector on April 1, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Like what elsewhere that directly affects the church and its members?

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  16. Nick Literski on April 1, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    I hit “post” too soon. Mr. Oaks will also use his best “judge face” and stern vocal tones to prove his points, all the while making legal arguments that he would never have accepted while he served on the bench, and using half-correct versions of foreign incidents to allege a threat against the U.S. Constitution.

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  17. Nick Literski on April 1, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    #15:
    Like what elsewhere that directly affects the church and its members?

    No, Jeff. Oaks has been giving many speeches of this nature lately, all aimed against supporters of GLBT civil rights, and all alleging that “religious freedom” is being destroyed because citizens criticize churches for their behavior on the issue.

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  18. David on April 1, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    Nick,

    Did you ever read this compilation of Oaks most recent “religious freedom” speech? If you scroll down to the posts for February 2011 (left column, all the way at the bottom), someone went through the claims Oaks made and it’s quite an interesting read, when put together.

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  19. Jeff Spector on April 1, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Nick,

    You’re probably right about that. And you;ll be watching, no?

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  20. Nick Literski on April 1, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    I’ll rely on you and the bloggernacle for the best bits, Jeff. :-)

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  21. Will on April 1, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Nick,

    I thought the talk Oaks gave at Chapman University was one of the best talks ever given on religious freedom. I particularly liked the section:

    “Many of the great moral advances in Western society have been motivated by religious principles and moved through the public square by pulpit-preaching. The abolition of the slave trade in England and the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States are notable illustrations. These revolutionary steps were not motivated and moved by secular ethics or coalitions of persons who believed in moral relativism. They were driven primarily by individuals who had a clear vision of what was morally right and what was morally wrong. In our time, the Civil Rights movement was, of course, inspired and furthered by religious leaders”

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  22. MH on April 1, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    “the Civil Rights movement was, of course, inspired and furthered by religious leaders”

    Of note is the fact that the primary religious leaders in favor of Civil Rights were black pastors like MLK, not white ones like LDS leaders. I’m sure you’re well aware that President Benson referred to the Civil Rights movement as a “Communist conspiracy.” Many white religious leaders fought with other black religious leaders over Civil Rights.

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  23. BrotherQ on April 1, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    President Uchdorf will give an amazing, loving talk that people across the LDS spectrum will enjoy.

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  24. Nick Literski on April 1, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    #21:
    Yes, that’s a lovely sentiment, Will, and like much of what Mr. Oaks has been saying in these speeches, it’s at least partly true. It would also be true to say something like:

    “Many of the great moral advances in Western society have been actively opposed by religious principles and vilified through the public square by pulpit-preaching. The abolition of the slave trade in England and the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States are notable illustrations of efforts which were completely demonized by religious preachers who claimed that slavery was justified, if not commanded, by the Bible. These revolutionary steps were sometimes motivated and moved by secular ethics or coalitions of persons who believed in moral relativism. They were driven primarily by individuals who had a clear vision of what was morally right and what was morally wrong, whether or not it agreed with the prevailing religious views of the day. In our time, the Civil Rights movement was, of course, both hampered and furthered by religious leaders”

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  25. Dan on April 1, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    well said Nick (#24)…some apparently have forgotten how religious leaders like Ezra Taft Benson decried and denounced the Civil Rights movement…and of course Brigham Young and blacks…we don’t need to go there…

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  26. Mike S on April 1, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    Will (#21):

    You quote: These revolutionary steps were not motivated and moved by secular ethics or coalitions of persons who believed in moral relativism.

    I think the vast majority of Western society would say that WE were wrong and practiced “moral relativism” when people had multiple wives, including young children and women who were already married to other men. Society ultimately corrected this practice.

    We also had an abhorrent record when it came to the blacks as evidenced by the above quotes. Society also ultimately put enough pressure on us that we corrected this as well.

    So, to say we are at the vanguard of “fixing” things is basically wrong. If we didn’t respond to societal pressures, we would still be marrying each others’ wives and daughters, there would be no blacks in our congregations, and women wouldn’t be praying in sacrament meeting.

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  27. David on April 1, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    Will:

    “I thought the talk Oaks gave at Chapman University was one of the best talks ever given on religious freedom.”

    I know you’re unlikely to respond based on past conversations I’ve seen (i.e. people asking for your thoughts, you not replying), but I’d be interested in your thoughts on the link I posted in comment #18. That link will take you to a website where the author has an 8-part series about the half-truths Oaks provided in that statement. Specifically, the author noted the following in his conclusion to the 8-part series:

    ” The bottom line is that once again, Oaks’ speech spun the facts in such a way as to completely misrepresent what actually happened. … I’m talking about his use of examples, actual reported legal cases, in which the facts and implications are completely different from what he wants his audience to believe. … Yet those who are not attorneys probably won’t take the time to research the cases (or even know where to find them) or see the distinctions. They will simply rely on Oaks’ opinion, ex officio, and believe his conclusions without question.

    With all due respect to Oaks, gentle reader, it’s irrelevant whether you believe he is a prophet, seer and revelator or not. The bottom line is that he has spun facts in a way that completely misrepresents the truth, in order to support his pre-determined conclusion. …

    You’ve sought to paint a picture of freedom of religious expression as under increasing attack in the United States. But thanks to the skills your law school taught me, I’ve seen for myself that your stories don’t mean what you claim. Once the details are investigated, it becomes clear that in every single instance, every one of your “examples,” something else was going on—something else that makes all the difference. Something else that shows those examples do not mean what you said. Yet you lined them all up, omitting these crucial details, as alleged examples of something that just isn’t so. My posts over the last week have shown in detail how this is true.

    When you were president of BYU, you gave a talk about honesty, in which you said this:

    An individual who conceals and misrepresents, however small the matter, sows the seeds of his own corruption. . . A lie is not always told in so many words. It may be a creature of concealment or a misrepresentation by action or a half-truth.

    Of course, everyone falls short of perfection. And I try to be as tolerant of others’ foibles as I hope they’ll be of mine. But when a man purporting to be a “prophet, seer and revelator” and an experienced jurist goes out of his way to speak publicly about such a potentially momentous topic, and he chooses over and over to say things which investigation shows to be “half-truth” at best, that’s something entirely different. That’s not just human foible. That’s something deliberate.

    Will, if you would, please go and read through the case law Oaks used for the basis of his talk. I would, then, be interested if your opinion remains the same.

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  28. Henry on April 1, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    Nick:
    Homosexual activism is a threat to the family and churches have a right to speak on the issue.

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  29. Aaron L on April 2, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    How exactly is it a threat Henry? What exactly are you afraid that gay people are going to do to you and your kids?

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  30. Stephen M (Ethesis) on April 2, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    For what it is worth, Oaks tends to speak to audiences of lawyers, many of whom end up agreeing with him on how he reads the cases.

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  31. FireTag on April 2, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    Way back to comment 13 — how did “elsewhere” lead to a discussion of gay rights?????

    For example, consider this headline from this morning, which I doubt is on anyone’s radar in the US outside the government intelligence and military circles. More crises than weeks it seems.

    http://debka.com/article/20813/

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  32. David on April 2, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    re: 30

    If that’s the case, then I’d be very surprised to see anyone raise their hands to support how he interpreted those cases in his speech at Chapman Univ. The vast majority of the cases he used to support his views were on the losing end via summary judgments. I would be very, very surprised if he’d have even allowed those cases to be cited, let alone used as the main substance of someone’s arguments.

    It really was a poor example of scholarship on his part – whether the cases were compiled by some speech writers or himself.

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  33. Nick Literski on April 2, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    #28:
    Henry, nobody is suggesting that churches don’t have a right to voice their opinion on social issues. You see, that’s where Mr. Oaks is playing a shell game. The fact that someone criticizes what your church says and does is not the same as denying your church the right to speak. Oaks, as a former state supreme court justice, knows this full well.

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  34. Douglas on April 3, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    1) “Only” three? And all in the USA? Amazing…of course, it’d be no surprise for the Church, in these relatively tough times, to lay off temple building for a few years. After all, the depression and WW2 delaying the building of the LA Temple by almost 20 years.
    2) All BKP has to do is get up and breathe, and there are those that will get mad about that.
    3) More flowery, sing-song expressions? Sure, it’s “GA-speak”. Deal with it…
    4) Then the brethren (and few “cistern”, LOL) that indulgence in porn should agree to lay off. That’d shut ‘em up…
    5) Usually the “handbook” is not directly referenced. GAs usually use the phrase “under the direction of the prophet…”
    6) Not a question of “allow”..in most of the non-English speaking world, English is the second language of choice..w/o it, hard to get ahead…
    7) Church doesn’t acknowledge any behavior as being “in-born”, so, no,no. nope….
    8) Expect a few references, but the Church never wants to appear to exploit the sufferings of others, LDS and not.
    9) Though numbers won’t likely be quoted, the answer is…YES.
    10) Not likely, but my “crystal ball” is no better than others. Usually, such announcements amount to..”Meet the New Boss…same as the old Boss…” (thank you, brothers Daltrey, Townsend, Entwhistle, and the late Keith Moon…)

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  35. Stephen M (Ethesis) on April 3, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    nobody is suggesting that churches don’t have a right to voice their opinion on social issues. You see, that’s where Mr. Oaks is playing a shell game. The fact that someone criticizes what your church says and does is not the same

    As saying your church should lose tax exemptions and your members should lose their jobs and their employers should be boycotted ….

    Or is it?

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  36. Stephen M (Ethesis) on April 3, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    Nick, since I litigate public sector law, I think I’ll run some of the citations. Maybe I’ll do a post here on the speech.

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  37. Stephen M (Ethesis) on April 3, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    12:37 WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO ACCUSE RELIGIONS OF PUSHING THEIR DOCTRINE ON THOSE NOT OF THEIR FAITH?

    That needs to be taken very seriously by religious leaders. We cannot enact religious doctrine. We cannot require that a particular prayer that is pleasing to one religious group be adopted in the schools and be required to be said, for example; that’s approximately what the Supreme Court denounced in the school prayer decision several decades ago. Religious leaders should always be cautious and thoughtful that they are not advocating enactment of their own religious doctrine or their own religious practices into law. On the other hand, most of our family law, most of our criminal law, most of laws that deal with ethical behavior come out of religious principles. It’s simply not true that we have no religious principles in our law.

    Ok …

    What I see a conflict in is the freedom, which is part of religious freedom, of a religious leader to say that some particular conduct is sinful, or some particular public policy is not pleasing to God, or something of that nature. And then the person on the other side of that, the person criticized, says, “Well, you’re interfering with my civil right to advocate my position,” or “You’re offending me and I have a right not to be offended,” or “You are criticizing me and I have a right not to be criticized.” That’s where the collision comes.

    I’ll have to look at the speech, rather than what he was saying about it, but at least I know where he was coming from now (those are quotes from an interview he gave about what he meant).

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  38. Nick Literski on April 4, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    #35:
    In my experience, those who say politically-outspoken churches should lose their tax exemption have little understanding of the relevant law. For that matter, the releveant law is so vague, that I’m not sure anyone else (IRS included) has much understanding of it. :-)

    That said, I’m not convinced that tax exemption is truly a “religious freedom” issue. Prior to the Bill of Rights, citizens in this country were taxed for the support of the prevailing local church, though they generally had an option to decline (as Joseph Smith Sr. did, for example). Citizens being taxed to support a church they don’t subscribe to would be a religious freedom issue, but how is taxation an infringement on the religious freedom of a church?

    How is a company being boycotted over their political activism a “religious freedom” issue? Evangelical groups boycott businesses all the time, especially for being supportive of GLBT rights (i.e. Disney, Campbell Soup, Pepsi, Levi, etc.). If a business and/or its management contribute to a political cause, customers are entitled to voice their opinion regarding that donation by either supporting or boycotting that business. The fact that the business owners/management made their donation for religious reasons doesn’t somehow make their action immune to criticism, nor does it magically transform boycotts into “violations of religious freedom.” I don’t shop at WalMart, because the company as a whole, as well as its top executives individually, have repeatedly contributed to promoting legislation to deny equal civil rights to GLBT persons. If the company and/or its officers made their contributions for religious reasons, are you seriously alleging that my refusal to shop at WalMart is “religious persecution,” or a “violation” of “religious freedom?” That would be nonsense.

    Further, to say people “lost their jobs” for supporting Prop 8 is false. There have been exactly two cases in which individuals contributed to Prop 8, had their contributions made public according to law, and subsequently resigned voluntarily when their companies faced public protest over it. In one of these cases, the company refused to accept the employee’s resignation, until he voluntarily submitted it a second time. This whole “people were fired for supporting Prop 8″ story is a blatant falsehood, invented out of whole cloth by bigots who are trying desperately (and failing, thus far) to get the courts to overturn campaign finance laws and let them keep their bigotry secret.

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  39. Nick Literski on April 4, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    What I see a conflict in is the freedom, which is part of religious freedom, of a religious leader to say that some particular conduct is sinful, or some particular public policy is not pleasing to God, or something of that nature. And then the person on the other side of that, the person criticized, says, “Well, you’re interfering with my civil right to advocate my position,” or “You’re offending me and I have a right not to be offended,” or “You are criticizing me and I have a right not to be criticized.” That’s where the collision comes.

    Stephen, your quotation from Mr. Oaks almost perfectly demonstrates the deceptive sophistry contained in his recent speeches on this subject.

    I don’t know of any case in the United States of America, where anyone has claimed that a church has no right to publicly teach their understanding of right and wrong behavior, or their belief on whether a public policy is pleasing to their deity. Oaks likes to point (though not always accurately) to cases in other countries, but those countries don’t have an equivalent to our First Amendment.

    What I find truly bizarre is how Oaks goes on to accuse the alleged “sinners” of precisely what religious figures have done in these debates. It’s the religious figures, such as Oaks himself, who are claiming that any criticism of their position is “interfering with [their] civil right to advocate [their] position”. It’s the religious figures who are claiming that homosexuality offends them, and they “have a right not to be offended”. It’s the religious figures, such as Oaks, who are giving speeches all over the country, declaring that supporters of marriage equality are “criticizing [them] and [they] have a right not to be criticized.”

    I don’t know of any GLBT individuals or groups who are saying that religious figures are “interfering with [their] civil right to advocate [their] position”. I don’t know of any GLBT individuals or groups who claim that religious figures are “offending [them] and [they] have a right not to be offended,” except where the religious figures are already acting unconstitutionally by (for example) teaching their religious doctrine against homosexuality in the public schools, etc. I don’t know of any GLBT individuals or groups who claim that religious figures are “criticizing [them] and [they]ave a right not to be criticized.”

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  40. Stephen M (Ethesis) on April 4, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    Nick, Oaks did not cite to that many U.S. Cases. I’ll be reviewing this more, but to claim his citations are highly defective, I think appears to be a bit of a stretch.

    The non-US Cases involve people being censured for teaching doctrine or positions that others asserted that the others had a ruight not to have them teach.

    The article itself bears some analysis, but so do the types of attacks that are made against it and the way the attacks shift (e.g. “the law citations are completely bogus and unsupported, summary judgments” to “the argument, when limited only to things that are going on in some parts of the United States, is incorrect, even if it is correct about the way things are happening elsewheres”).

    Now, the point of whether or not one agrees with the argument, or the use to which it is put, that is far different from claiming the foundation is completely missing.

    From the foot notes, with some citation checking:

    21 494 U.S. 872 (1990).

    Claimants sought review of determination that their religious use of peyote, which resulted in their dismissal from employment, was “misconduct” disqualifying them from receipt of Oregon unemployment compensation benefits. In one case, the Oregon Court of Appeals, 75 Or.App. 764, 709 P.2d 246, reversed and remanded. The Oregon Supreme Court, 301 Or. 209, 721 P.2d 445, affirmed as modified. In the second case, the Oregon Court of Appeals, 75 Or.App. 735, 707 P.2d 1274, reversed. The Oregon Supreme Court, 301 Or. 221, 721 P.2d 451, affirmed as modified and remanded. Petition for writ of certiorari was granted. The Supreme Court, Justice Stevens, 485 U.S. 660, 108 S.Ct. 1444, 99 L.Ed.2d 753, vacated judgment and remanded for determination whether sacramental peyote use was proscribed by state’s controlled substance law. On remand, the Oregon Supreme Court, 307 Or. 68, 763 P.2d 146, held that sacramental peyote use violated state drug laws, but concluded that prohibition was nonetheless invalid under free exercise clause. The Supreme Court, Scalia, J., held that: (1) free exercise clause did not prohibit application of Oregon drug laws to ceremonial ingestion of peyote, and (2) thus state could, consistent with free exercise clause, deny claimants unemployment compensation for work-related misconduct based on use of drug.

    Superseded by Statute as easily noted by many cases including: General Conference Corp. of Seventh-Day Adventists v. McGill, 617 F.3d 402, 409+, 96 U.S.P.Q.2d 1190, 1190+ (6th Cir.(Tenn.) Aug 10, 2010)

    704 F. Supp. 2d 921 – Perry v. Swartznegger

    De Burgh v. De Burgh — an interesting divorce case.

    47Eisenstadt v. Baird, 295 U.S. 438, 453 (1972). 405 U.S. 438, 92 S.Ct. 1029, 31 L.Ed.2d 349, the case that made a constitutional right of contraception for unmarried persons.

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  41. Stephen M (Ethesis) on April 4, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    As for the non-law citations, they are things like:

    29Homosexuality Trumps Free Speech and Religion in Canada, NARTH(Aug. 9, 2005), http://www.narth.com/docs/trumps.html; Pete Vere, Catholicism—A Hate Crime in Canada?, CATHOLIC EXCHANGE, (June 4, 2008) http://catholicexchange.com/2008/06/04/112780; see Stacey v. Campbell, 2002 B.C.H.R.T. 35 (B.C. Human Rights Trib. 2002); see e.g., Marshall Breger, Gay Activists vs. the First Amendment, MOMENT, (Feb. 2010) http://www.momentmag.com/Exclusive/currentyear/02/201002-Opinion-Breger.html.

    30See, e.g., The Pastor Green Case, Supreme Court of Sweden, Case no. B 1050-05 (29 Nov. 2005); The Ake Green Case: Freedom of Religion on Trial in Sweden, AKEGREEN.ORG, http://www.akegreen.org/; Heidi Blake, Christian Preacher Arrested for Saying Homosexuality is a Sin, THE TELEGRAPH, (May 2, 2010) http://www.telegraph. co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7668448/Christian-preacher-arrested-for-saying-homosexuality-is-a-sin.html; Albert Mohler, It’s Getting Dangerous Out There—A Preacher Is Arrested in Britain, ALBERTMOHLER.COM(May 4, 2010) http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/05/04/its-getting-dangerous-out-there-a-preacher-is-arrested-in-britain/; Sylvia Tan, Police reports lodged against Singapore pastor over offensive gay and lesbian remarks, FRIDAE.COM(Feb. 18, 2010) http://www.fridae.com/newsfeatures/2010/02/18/9670.police-reports-lodged-against-singapore-pastor-over-offensive-gay-and-lesbian-remarks.

    31See Vere, Catholicism, supra, note 29; See also The Cost of Being a Christian, ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND, https://www.alliancedefensefund.org/Home/Detail/4333?referral=E0910B3F; David Walker, Photographer Loses Bid to Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Jobs, PDNONLINE(Jan. 4, 2010) http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/content_display/features/pdn-online/e3i7d41666c039b61afca226786f0011fd9.

    32Jill P. Capuzzo, Group Loses Tax Break Over Gay Union Issue, N.Y. Times, (Sep. 18, 2007) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/18/nyregion/18grove.html.

    33See Jodi Heckel, Instructor of Catholicism at UI Claims Loss of Job Violates Academic Freedom, News Gazette (Jul. 9, 2010) http://www.news-gazette.com/news/university-illinois/2010-07-09/instructor-catholicism-ui-claims-loss-job-violates-academic-free; Julie Bolcer, Professor Sent Antigay E-mail to Student, Advocate, (Oct. 14, 2010) http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/10/14/Professor_Sent_Antigay_Email_to_Student/.

    34See Joshua R. Miller, Lawsuit Claims College Ordered Student to Alter Religious Views on Homosexuality, or Be Dismissed, FoxNews.com, (Jul. 27, 2010) http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/07/27/georgia-university-tells-student-lose-religion-lawsuit-claims/; Court rules student counselors must ‘affirm’ gay clients, USA Today, (Jul. 28, 2010) http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2010-07-28-IHE-counseling-gays-ruling28_N.htm. See also Keeton v. Anderson-Wiley, 733 F.Supp.2d 1368 (S.D. Ga. 2010); Ward v. Wilbanks, 09-CV-11237 (E.D. Mich. July 26, 2010).

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  42. Nick Literski on April 4, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    Stephen, please notice your news source citations. First of all, the majority of them concern cases outside the USA. Second, you’re citing sources such as the notoriously anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund, which publicly argues that christian U.S. soldiers’ “religious liberties” are being denied if they are expected to serve with openly gay soldiers via the approaching repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Google these folks along with the word “gay,” and you’ll see they’re not helping your argument.

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  43. Stephen M (Ethesis) on April 4, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    I’m not citing anyone, I’m pointing to the citations you said that Dalin Oaks used and that did not say what he implied they did.

    The issue is whether or not he was misusing the sources he cited. On that, I must disagree, so far, with those that fault his reading of the sources.

    Now, whether or not those are sources one should use, another question.

    But it does appear that Elder Oaks has not misused his sources the way he was accused of doing.

    E.g.

    If that’s the case, then I’d be very surprised to see anyone raise their hands to support how he interpreted those cases in his speech at Chapman Univ. The vast majority of the cases he used to support his views were on the losing end via summary judgments. I would be very, very surprised if he’d have even allowed those cases to be cited, let alone used as the main substance of someone’s arguments.

    (Note you did not do that, but that is the sort of thing I was looking at).

    De Burgh v. De Burgh was not a summary judgment case.

    The California case on marriage, I thought, was tried (with witnesses who should be ashamed of themselves, but that is another issue, and one the Court got right).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisenstadt_v._Baird (yes, that is an historic case) .. “After Baird was convicted” — that’s not a summary judgment.

    That leaves me with the Peyote case (though with three so far not MSJs, I’m finding it hard to find any legitimate basis to claim that the guy I’m quoting is correct — vast majority?).

    And that last case, the sole hope to make “vast majority” one out of four …

    Respondents Smith and Black were fired by a private drug rehabilitation organization because they ingested peyote, a hallucinogenic drug, for sacramental purposes at a ceremony of their Native American Church. Their applications for unemployment compensation were denied by the State of Oregon under a state law disqualifying employees discharged for work-related “misconduct.” Holding that the denials violated respondents’ First Amendment free exercise rights, the State Court of Appeals reversed. The State Supreme Court affirmed, but this Court vacated the judgment and remanded for a determination whether sacramental peyote use is proscribed by the State’s controlled substance law, which makes it a felony to knowingly or intentionally possess the drug. Pending that determination, the Court refused to decide whether such use is protected by the Constitution. On remand, the State Supreme Court held that sacramental peyote use violated, and was not excepted from, the state law prohibition, but concluded that that prohibition was invalid under the Free Exercise Clause.

    Held: The Free Exercise Clause permits the State to prohibit sacramental peyote use, and thus to deny unemployment benefits to persons discharged for such use. Pp. 494 U. S. 876-890.

    Now, obviously that doesn’t mean Nick is wrong on the merits of his arguments, and Nick did not make the argument I cited. I’m only taking one part of this at a time.

    But, checking the citations does not make the address defective by any means.

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