General Conference as a tool to combat false doctrine: a step

by: Stephen Marsh

July 28, 2011

I would have the opening prayer of the first session given by a sister and the closing prayer of the last session given by one, with a talk in the Priesthood session asking people to be mindful that they do not promulgate the false doctrine that [opening][closing] prayers should always be given by men (the practice differs by different areas).

What would you do?

88 Responses to General Conference as a tool to combat false doctrine: a step

  1. Dan on July 28, 2011 at 5:57 AM

    open the priesthood to all who are worthy.

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  2. mark gibson on July 28, 2011 at 6:30 AM

    I’m a little unclear. Are you referring to just the opening/closing prayers of conference or local sacrament services as well?

    This can’t be a “doctrine” if some don’t adhere to it without getting in trouble. Perhaps a false “belief” or false “tradition”. Lots of those hanging around our church life.

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  3. Jorjaswtgja on July 28, 2011 at 6:33 AM

    What wouldn’t I do?

    Conference is just a mind-numbing marathon sacrament meeting without the bread and water snacks.

    Seriously: why not make it a normal conference with small, intimate local workshops, speakers from different countries and with different roles, and age-/interest-appropriate activities?

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  4. hummmmm on July 28, 2011 at 7:04 AM

    i would let people go off the prompter. translation logistics be damned.

    i would have some folks singing solos. group choir only goes so far with me.

    i dunno, its become so repetitive now that i just check the blogs to see if anything is worth checking out.

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  5. Stephen M (Ethesis) on July 28, 2011 at 7:18 AM

    Mark, there is a false doctrine circulating in various places that as to local sacrament services, women are not properly assigned one of the prayers (different areas have a formal or informal ban on women giving opening prayers or closing prayers).

    A good way to put an end to it would be to have a woman give the opening session opening prayer at conference and the closing session closing prayer.

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  6. Bro. Jones on July 28, 2011 at 7:36 AM

    #3: I’d like to see at least one or two talks given in a speakers’ native language. If our non-English speaking brothers and sisters can sit through a translation for all those hours, we can do the same for at least a couple of talks.

    On another note, I’d like to hear at least one in-depth report from an apostle about a particular area of the Church. It could be a ward in Brazil, Japan, Nova Scotia, or Provo, but I’d love to hear a whole talk letting us know about the trials and blessings of our fellow saints. I know the Ensign has occasional articles like this, and they’re great, but I wouldn’t mind seeing something similar in Conference beyond the occasional faith-promoting 15-second soundbite.

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  7. Will on July 28, 2011 at 7:37 AM

    I’d let the Prophet and Apostles run the church and quit pretending I could do a better job than they are doing. In short, I would swallow my pride and sustain them as divinely called leaders. Id gain a testimony of the articles of faith and recognize they had been called of God.

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  8. Dan on July 28, 2011 at 7:52 AM

    just so it is clear, Will, that Dislike is from me.

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  9. Jeff Spector on July 28, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    I love the idea of hearing a talk from a non-English speaker in their native language with subtitles or simultaneous translation.

    I would also like to hear from a real member now and again.

    I would also like the Sisters who speak to talk in their real voice and not in their primary voice. Not all do this but some do.

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  10. mh on July 28, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    ‘will’ and ‘swallow pride’ is an oxymoron. it will never happen.

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  11. Christopher Bigelow on July 28, 2011 at 9:15 AM

    Eliminate two of the general sessions. Keep Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Eight hours of preaching in two days is overkill (plus 2 more hours, for priesthood).

    I’m also one of those for cutting regular Sunday church down to two hours, or maybe even 90 minutes.

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  12. hummmmm on July 28, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    Will, do you think the prophet and apostles want the membership to never provide any helpful suggestions?

    Also, weren’t the articles of faith just a letter to the editor of a newspaper?

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  13. Cowboy on July 28, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    I’d like them to admit they really don’t have anything to say, and just respect the Lords wishes by making it a day of rest from mundane labor. Cancel it and encourage families to still get together, make a lot of food, and just play more frisbee.

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  14. Paul on July 28, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    I wouldn’t mind having sisters pray. And I wouldn’t mind a talk on that subject, either. That said, the CHI has been pretty clear on this subject for years.

    I also really like the idea of listening to foreign general authorities speaking in their own language, though I imagine the translation logistics are messy (though probably not impossible, especially with pre-prepraed talks).

    I also liked (I can’t believe I’m saying this!) Will’s comment #7.

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  15. will on July 28, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    Hmmmmmm,

    It is the whole ‘if I were the boss series’ that I am referencing. Instead of having a series that throws the Prophets and Apostles under the bus and points all the potential negatives, why not have a series that exemplifies the positive. It could chronicle positive experiences from following their counsel – the windows of heaven that have been opened up as a result of an honest tithe; the self confidence and faith that stems from living the law of chastity; the peace of mind that comes from staying out of debt. These are but a few examples. This would be virtuous, lovely and of good report. It would require the same about of effort; it would require literary expertise as anyone can point out the negative and capture attention. It requires real talent to point out the positive and capture an audience. This route would build rather that destroy. This route would be sustaining rather than complaining.

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  16. Jeff Spector on July 28, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    “I’m also one of those for cutting regular Sunday church down to two hours, or maybe even 90 minutes.”

    Next thing they’ll be sayin’ is let’s just have it on Saturday and wear shorts and flip flops. Better yet, just watch it on TV and send the contributions in the mail… :)

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  17. will on July 28, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    The only issue with that series, is what do we do with the oversized diaper and bib for Dan?

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  18. Henry on July 28, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    Stephen Marsh:
    So now you have a sister giving the prayer at the beginning and at the end. How is that better than a man giving the prayer at the beginning and at the end? You end up with the same problem. Sexism.

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  19. Cowboy on July 28, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    “as anyone can point out the negative and capture attention. It requires real talent to point out the positive and capture an audience.”

    People say things like this all the time, as if such a thing were self-evident. More to the point, Will, I believe what you are looking for already exists…it’s called the Enzign.

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  20. hummmmm on July 28, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    will

    if you’re happy w/ everything that goes on at with the LDS church, doctrinal or not, why would you read any blogs? sounds like you have everything you need. some of us think we can be doing better, and want to help.

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  21. Will on July 28, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    Hmmmmm,

    I’ll tell you my main motivation. My son is serving an LDS mission right now. The people he is teaching visit these types of sights. They see what other “mormoms” think. I just want to ensure the church’s standpoint us being presented and defended. I am looking at it from that prospective. The lion’s share of my comments are a defensive posture.

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  22. Henry on July 28, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    Will is right in a sense. I wonder if websites like this do more damage than what people think. For example, FMH has topics ranging from Joseph SMiths forgotten women to people hating on the temple.

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  23. Irony on July 28, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    Will:

    I’ll tell you my main motivation. My son is serving an LDS mission right now. The people he is teaching visit these types of sights. They see what other “mormoms” think. I just want to ensure the church’s standpoint us being presented and defended. I am looking at it from that prospective. The lion’s share of my comments are a defensive posture.

    I submit these for your consideration:

    “If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.” -J. Reuben Clark

    “If faith will not bear to be investigated; if its preachers and professors are afraid to have it examined, their foundation must be very weak.”
    -George A. Smith

    I find arguments that dismissively attack any questions or suggestions for something better (even if it’s only perceived as better), or as a “defensive posture” as abhorrent to my idea of Mormonism.

    Who cares what other Mormons think. I’m as much a part of the “church” as the “Church ™” is. Stop defending the organization as if it’s beyond reproach, as if it’s greater than the individuals who make up the church. If investigators are going to investigate the church, then they should be exposed to all sides of the discussions – and I hope they’d be given the decisions they’re making.

    What BH Roberts said about the defense of the Book of Mormon is as applicable to the defense of the ideas for which the book (and church) hopefully stands for:

    “The fact should be recognized by the Latter-day Saints that the Book of Mormon of necessity must submit to every test, to literary criticism, as well as to every other class of criticism; for our age is above all things critical, and especially critical of sacred literature, and we may not hope that the Book of Mormon will escape closest scrutiny; neither, indeed, is it desirable that it should escape. It is given to the world as a revelation from God. It is a volume of American scripture. Men have a right to test it by the keenest criticism, and to pass severest judgment upon it, and we who accept it as a revelation from God have every reason to believe that it will endure every test; and the more thoroughly it is investigated, the greater shall be its ultimate triumph. Here it is in the world; let the world make the most of it, or the least of it. It is and will remain true. But it will not do for those who believe it to suppose that they can dismiss objections to this American volume of scripture by the assumption of a lofty air of superiority, and a declaration as to what is enough for us or anybody else to know. The Book of Mormon is presented to the world for its acceptance; and the Latter-day Saints are anxious that their fellow men should believe it. If objections are made to it, to the manner of its translation, with the rest, these objections should be patiently investigated, and the most reasonable explanations possible, given.” B.H. Roberts, “Translation of the Book of Mormon,” Improvement Era, 1906, Vol. Ix. March, 1906. No. 5.

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  24. Will on July 28, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Not ” in a sense”. Will is right. I read his letters. I feel his pain. These sites are visited by those looking into the church. I realize calling Dan a big baby, even though it is true, is not the best example. Those that publish these articles have a greater responsibly. I think some of them let their vain ambitions shatter the fragile testimonies of those looking into our faith. They need to understand the world is watching. They need to understand the negative impact they are having on the missionary efforts. They need to understand peoe think they are the voice of the church. They need to communicate more clearly it is their opinions that are being expressed and that they are not approved by the church. They need to communicate the opinions expresses are most likely in opposition to the church. I would rather those investigators my son is working with are visiting anti-Mormon sites. This way, they know the source.

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  25. Ray on July 28, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    I don’t see anything negative about this post, at all. It takes real talent to offer constructive, good suggestions about how to make something good even better – and that’s all this is, imo.

    I see plenty of things negative (judgmental and mean-spirited, primarily) about some of the comments in the thread – and, Will, yours are among those that are negative in nature.

    As to the question in the OP, I would LOVE to see a woman offer the opening prayer in the the Saturday morning session – and in at least one more session. The CHI is crystal clear that women can offer any prayer in Sacrament Meeting, but some local leaders won’t acknowledge that. Having a woman open General Conference should make just as clear a statement – so I would love to see it.

    I would love to hear a talk in the native language of a non-English speaker, with sub-titles – especially since the number of Spanish-speaking members of record will exceed English-speaking members very shortly (if it doesn’t already).

    I would love to see the teleprompters disappear, but I understand the timing issues in our modern, television-timing world. I would like to see them replaced by countdown timers on the podium and electric shocks that would zap the speakers if they went over their time limit. (OK, the shocks is a joke – kind of.)

    I would love to hear more varieties of music.

    I would love to have Elder Uchtdorf be the sole reader of the names during the sustaining of the leadership. The man can pronounce some of the names like no other.

    I would like to see speakers in multiple shirt colors – since none of them has to worry about the possibility of passing the sacrament in that meeting. A purple or light blue suit would be cool, as well.

    There isn’t really much of anything else I would change

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  26. Ray on July 28, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    Take a deep breath, Ray, and respond calmly:

    “They need to understand the negative impact they are having on the missionary efforts.”

    My son just returned from a mission, and he pointed people who thought all Mormons are a bunch of brainless, thoughtless robots to sites in the Bloggernacle all the time. Especially for those who are not politically conservative and struggled with the whole Prop. 8 involvement, these sites were a Godsend – and I use that term intentionally.

    Also, I personally know of multiple people who joined the Church specifically because of group sites in the Bloggernacle – and that’s just me as one individual.

    “They need to understand people think they are the voice of the church.”

    No, they don’t think that. They are smart enough to know these are opinions of individual members – especially when they read differing opinions. Nobody here thinks they are the voice of the Church, either.

    “They need to communicate more clearly it is their opinions that are being expressed and that they are not approved by the church.”

    The first part is crystal clear to anyone who has good reasoning skills – and Elder Ballard practically begged members to get involved online and show people we all aren’t the caricatures we are portrayed to be. These sites simply are the uncorrelated version of the “I’m a Mormon” marketing campaign. Are you offended that those people often aren’t the “typical” Mormon you seem to want to be the only ones talking about their testimonies?

    “They need to communicate the opinions expresses are most likely in opposition to the church.”

    Hogwash. Pure and unmitigated hogwash. There are individual commenters here and other places whose opinions often are in opposition to the Church, but the vast majority are not. Again, anyone with any degree of discernment can see and understand that.

    “I would rather those investigators my son is working with are visiting anti-Mormon sites. This way, they know the source.”

    That probably is one of the worst, most vile, inaccurate statements I have read anywhere in all my years of participation online. Seriously, I have almost no other response I can make. What a warped . . . twisted . . . hyperbolic statement. I am flabbergasted.

    Please understand, this comment was typed as I was trying very hard not to mock yours in any way. I am trying very hard to keep it straightforward and practical – but I truly am dumbfounded at what you just wrote. Not only is it totally irrelevant to the post, but it is incredibly judgmental – and inaccurate in its judgmentalism.

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  27. Will on July 28, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    Ray,

    Thank you. That is precisely the comment I was hoping for, to help with my point. Your defensive rhetoric is aimed at protecting the authors and mine is aimed at protecting the church leaders. Hopefully, it helps you understand my position a little better

    With that said, hawkgrrl, firetag and Jeff Spector
    do an excellent job. Excellent. They do their respective faiths honor. This series “I would do a better job” is arrogant and offensive. That is the point I am making and you just helped me illustrate this by doing in my comment what I see in this series.

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  28. Ray on July 28, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Good-bye, Will. There truly is no point in continuing this.

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  29. Latter-day Guy on July 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    Interesting post, and some cool ideas. I really would like to hear a Sister pray during GC in my lifetime.

    However––and on a somewhat different note––while I have enjoyed much of the content here at W&T, it has gotten just too annoying to see every (potentially interesting) discussion get hijacked by the crazies. I think I’m done lurking/commenting here. It’s been fun, but now it’s like reading the comments on SLTrib articles. Life’s just too short!

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  30. Dan on July 28, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    at what point will Will be rejected for the a**hole that he is?

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  31. Marie on July 28, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    Equal number of prayers given by men and women. Real prayers, not the extensive fake talk-prayers we hear.

    Also, have more women speakers in general, giving talks on gospel principles, not just on how to be a better wife/mother.

    I’d also like to stop all the talks we hear from men on how equal and appreciated women are until they can start putting that into practice. Even the talks with the best intentions come off more like lip-service.

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  32. Jeff Spector on July 28, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    Dan, Control yourself

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  33. Jeff Spector on July 28, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Marie,

    Does that also mean they should stop talking about Gospel Principles until we can really put them into practice?

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  34. Will on July 28, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Love beads!

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  35. Dan on July 28, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    Jeff,

    That was me at full rational control. I thought that word best describes Will and his “endeavors” at your blog here to ensure we’re all “in line.” At some point, you guys are gonna have to ask yourselves what kind of readership you want. You’ve lost a lot of moderate listeners because of extremists like Will and Jon. Chris left long ago, and I probably should have followed him out.

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  36. Will on July 28, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    Dan,

    My comments on this post today represent the opinion of the majority of the LDS members of the church. So, they all must be extremists.

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  37. Marie on July 28, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Jeff,

    I just think it’s really insincere to talk about how equal women are and how much we appreciate their contributions when they are given 5 minutes out of 10 hours of conference, and those minutes are assigned to women-specific topics. I don’t expect the church or any individual to be perfect, but really, I think we can do better.

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  38. Jeff Spector on July 28, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    Of course, we can. But I do not think it insincere. How many speakers do you think there are outside of the 1st Pres and 12 Apostles?

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  39. Kendrick K on July 28, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    Personally I really enjoy conference, however it is often so correlated that you know what a speaker is going to say just from the opening remarks of the talk, there are fantastic moments that can really speak to my soul, but much too much is a regurgitation of quotes & poor jokes, it’s not easy coming up with a good 10-20 min talk that is bullet proof to all the scrutiny it will undergo but I just wish they’d be a little less scripted & correlated.

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  40. Paul on July 28, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    #37 Marie: Why do you think sisters are assigned topics? Repeatedly we are told topics are not assigned in conference; each speaker chooses his or her own.

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  41. Will on July 28, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    “Repeatedly we are told topics are not assigned in conference; each speaker chooses his or her own.”

    My cousin is a GA and he told me the same thing in person.

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  42. Marie on July 28, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    Whether it’s assigned or not, I don’t know. All I know is that Primary presidents speak about or to children, YW presidents speak about or to YW, and RS presidents speak about womanhood and motherhood. Not that these aren’t important topics, but I would like to hear a woman give a deeply insightful talk on something (anything!) else.

    Also, I didn’t mean to imply that the Apostles or GA’s aren’t sincere, good, caring men trying to do what’s right. I’m just saying that those comments sting instead of sooth when there is so much they could change to demonstrate that women are equal and capable of spiritual depth and insight.

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  43. Will on July 28, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    I agree with Paul on a non-controversial comment and get two dislikes and you wonder why I call you a baby Dan. Jeeze…

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  44. Gomes on July 28, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Will:

    It’s a shame you don’t take Ray’s comment to heart and consider what he’s saying. Your reply that immediately follows his is troubling. There’s much to enjoy about what you write – about everyone in general – but your responses on this thread do a disservice to both the discussion and your POV.

    You really should re-read #26 and stop the charade that you know everything and that because you’re in the “majority” that that makes you’re thoughts any more valid than anyone else’s.

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  45. Will on July 28, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    Gomes:

    Look, Ray got defensive because I was attacking some authors on this blog. I excluded the ones I think do a good job most of the time. I get defensive when some of these authors and commentators attack the church leaders. Why is it Ok for Ray to get defensive with me; but, not for me to get defensive when others attack the church or its leaders?

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  46. Dan on July 28, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    not for me to get defensive when others attack the church or its leaders?

    yeah, because church leaders are so defenseless…they need their valiant knight, Will, to save them from hapless bloggers.

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  47. Alice (alliegator) on July 28, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    I love conference. I play bingo with my kids. Maybe everyone else would like it better if they had mm’s to eat…

    There is the occasional talk that makes me sad, but for the most part, I find conference uplifting.

    (That, true comment was for the people in Will’s son’s mission)

    I’d have more women speakers. One per session would be great. Also, an occasional woman saying the prayer would be appreciated.

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  48. Alice (alliegator) on July 28, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    I would like some new pictures on the bingo cards though. :)

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  49. Will on July 28, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Gnomes,

    As for the majority comment, that was in response to Dan’s comment about what I said as being extremist.

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  50. Gomes on July 28, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    Will:

    A chief issue I have with your attacks is that you seem entirely unable to see the disconnect between certain things that happen in church and the “leaders.” Your defense of them is defenseless because any perceived critique of the broader Mormon culture is a critique on the individual leaders, which is utter nonsense. Until you learn to differentiate between the organization and any leader within the organization you will always be disappointed.

    Deconstruct Ray’s comment #26… focus on the content, not the delivery. I think you’d be a lot better received if you’d provide some thoughtful content absent your typical hubris. If Ray is wrong in #26, give me something to think about and see whether he’s wrong.

    As it stands, the content I read is in favor of what Ray said. You do seem to distort the gospel to support your accusations. Rightly or wrongly, that’s how I read the situation at this point and you’ve given me nothing to reconsider.

    Throw me a bone, any bone. Persuade me with reason.

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  51. Ray on July 28, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Nothing in my comment was meant to “defend the authors” – and nothing was defensive. Let me try to explain myself better for everyone else. I will apologize in advance for the length, but I think this is really important.

    “My comments on this post today represent the opinion of the majority of the LDS members of the church.”

    No, actually, I don’t think they are – IF the actual question of the post was worded in such a way that the members didn’t see it as threatening. For example, one-by-one:

    1) Suppose an active, leadership-position-holding speaker in Sacrament Meeting (like me, for example) was talking about the upcoming General Conference and mentioned in that talk that, as much as he likes General Conference, he knows the CHI says women can give opening and closing prayers and that he would love to see a woman give the opening prayer in General Conference – or that he really likes most of the music in GC but would like to hear a solo or something accompanied by a flute and violin (since that’s acceptable for Sacrament Meeting) – or that it would be cool to hear a talk given in Spanish with English sub-titles – or something else like those things that has been suggested in this post and thread.

    If it was said in a way that wasn’t condemnatory of the leaders (and the post wasn’t) and didn’t promote apostasy (which the post doesn’t), I’m confident that most of the membership in that meeting would nod their heads in agreement – since NONE of those suggestions, in and of themselves, are in conflict with the Gospel in any way.

    2) Suppose a member wrote a letter to the Church Headquarters (which I’m not suggesting) that said exactly what I’ve outlined above – that it would be really neat if ABC happened in General Conference.

    I am confident that NOBODY at the Church Headquarters would think the letter was apostate in any way. I have no idea if it would make any difference in what actually happened, but my point is that it wouldn’t be seen as negative in any way – since the suggestions are not negative, in and of themselves.

    Here’s my central point:

    Stephen Marsh is a deeply believing, dedicated, faithful member of the LDS Church – as am I. He has had some incredible spiritual experiences – as have I. I have no doubt he will die a deeply believing, dedicated, faithful member of the LDS Church – as will I. That means something, and it’s not an unimportant thing to understand.

    To say that it would be better for people to frequent anti-Mormon sites than participate or read what is written here is . . . unfathomable to me. I’ve been involved in outreach to members who are struggling with faith crises for years. I’ve been in the trenches. I’ve dealt with anti-Mormon garbage first-hand and in-depth. My entire motivation for participating in the Bloggernacle is to learn from others’ varying perspectives and to help others hold on in times of trial and difficulty. I support and sustain the leadership of the LDS Church all the time – passionately.

    That doesn’t mean I have to agree with every aspect of the cultural hedges that we build around the Gospel – and MANY apostles and Prophets have said that over the years. Pres. Uchtdorf is the more recent and blunt, and I would HIGHLY recommend his talk about unnecessary rules we create in our over-zealous need to judge others.

    In short, my #26 was not written defensively. It was written bluntly, because I literally am appalled that this post could be read in such a twisted way – as an example of apostate thinking. It just isn’t, and labeling it as such requires logical contortions that aren’t healthy.

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  52. Ray on July 28, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    That last sentence was a bit too loose and sweeping. I apologize for not being more precise.

    Seeing this post as an example of apostate thinking requires an inability to set aside assumptions and pre-conceived notions and read strictly for what actually is said in the post itself.

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  53. Stephen M (Ethesis) on July 28, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Hmm, I actually got dinner around 7:30 (a glass of non-fat yogurt and some diet A&W in case you were wondering) and lunch at lunch, so today was better.

    Some comments.

    First, I am aware that what I would like to see in Conference is 100% in line with the CHI. It is aimed at flattening out those who disagree with the CHI from what I would term “folk” beliefs (you can call them superstitions or minor league apostasies if you want to). I was amazed that anyone took that as critical of the the brethren.

    Second, I liked a number of the ideas — ones that went much further than I did. Making general conference more like a conference, rethinking its purpose now that we have a broader community, and continuing the expansion that has begun with LDS music.

    Much of that would actually make it more like other conferences the Church supports or promotes current trends.

    Some thought it should be used for wholesale revision of the gospel or the Church. I’m not sure tweaking general conference is really the way to revise the Church, especially in ways that don’t fit with the CHI.

    I have no doubt he will die a deeply believing, dedicated, faithful member of the LDS Church — that is my hope, to die that way as my father did before me that I may be received home by Christ with joy.

    Alice (alliegator) — thanks for making me laugh. After a long day, I appreciate that a lot.

    My cousin is a GA and he told me the same thing in person. My cousin isn’t, but I think the same. Which GA is your cousin, btw? I think people tend to have their minds on the topics related to their callings.

    Jeff Spector — I’d have said much the same thing if I had only gotten on before you did.

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  54. Stephen M (Ethesis) on July 28, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    “the whole ‘if I were the boss series’”

    I rather liked it. If you read what he was writing about, the author was addressing places where cultural issues were drowning out religious and spiritual ones. That is something that general authorities seem to address over and over again (I loved the GA who came to a stake conference and interrupted someone with “If Nephi had had the CHI he would never have slain Laban …”).

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  55. Mike S on July 28, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    Will,
    When you say that the series, “I would do a better job” is arrogant and offensive, I’m not sure what you mean. Stephen has written a few posts about things he would do. I had a series going that covered a similar concept, but it has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with Stephens posts. They are not part of a series.

    Because the duplication of a Thursday post similar in topic to my Wednesday post seemed a bit tedious, I’ve retired my posts.

    And to both Dan and Will, your interactions have turned me off to participating more than anything I have encountered online. Luckily, you both represent an extreme minority in the church, even though your respective opinions of yourselves otherwise differ. If the church was full of people as extreme a you both, I would have been gone long ago.

    Please don’t destroy this site.

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  56. Will on July 28, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    Gnomes,

    Fair enough. Here it goes:

    “My son just returned from a mission…..
    Also, I personally know…….”

    If people are looking to websites for their testimonies, or obtained it on a blog, they are sure to fail. Their lamp is not full. The only way to obtain a testimony is through the Holy Ghost. It is the only way. It is not a science project where they weigh all the facts and come to a conclusion. If this is the approach, they will be ever learning and never be able to come to a knowledge of the truth. A testimony must come from God via confirmation from the Spirit.

    “No, they don’t think that……”

    So let me get this straight: Church members are mindless robots and non-members understand all the nuisances of the church they are investigating. It looks pretty official to me – a professional design, a gospel oriented name, a list of gospel topics, a list of recent news about the church, a list of authors and NO mention it is or is not authorized by the church. As a first time visitor, I could get the impression it is a church sponsored blog – an electronic magazine of the church. Why not, the JW’s have one.

    Honestly, I don’t know the status of Mormon.Org. I heard the domain was bought by a wealthy guy. I know it was NOT church sanctioned at one time. With the logo, I would assume it is, but don’t know for sure.

    “Elder Ballard practically begged members…..”

    Exactly, in defense of the faith – to do as I suggested and present faith promoting experiences. I am confident, Elder Ballard or any of the other members of the 12 would not condone those that citizen, condemn and put down the church.

    “Hogwash….probably is one of the worst, most vile, inaccurate statements….

    I will address both of these comments as one as I think they are related.

    First, I did have the term “some’, which means some, not all. Secondly, there are authors and commentators that are just flat out apostates or anti-mormon – by THEIR admission in OTHER blogs. Some have signed petitions in opposition to the church, or programs of the church and others have attended and participated in counter-point conferences (I will explain what that is). When writing or commenting, this is an important thing to note as it adds perspective. If I know the person is anti, I will read that comment or post in that context.

    The counter-point conference is a conference that was (the one I saw the ad for) held at the University of Utah. The purpose of the conference is to rebut (thus the term counter-point) talks given at General Conference by general authorities. The agenda included talks from bloggers and from people who have been ex-communicated from the church for Apostasy. If this is not blatant apostasy, it sure is the spirit of apostasy. It should be noted, I did not see any members of the CURRENT group of authors on the agenda; however, I don’t know all of their names.

    With this said, I would prefer the author disclose their perspective and not mask it – not deceive the reader into thinking they are actively engaged in the faith. Authors on ex-mormons and/or ani-mormon sites disclose their identity and offer that needed perspective.

    Mike S presented his prespective, which I don’t consider apostate or anti. In short, the reader got the prespective.

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  57. Ray on July 28, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    Will, I’m not trying to defend every blog and group out there (or even every post here on this site) – and your last comment doesn’t deal with this post or anything I actually said in my comments. I can’t engage with someone who won’t engage with what I actually write.

    So, this time fully, good-bye.

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  58. Mike S on July 28, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    Will,

    I’m not sure I get you. You say the “series” of things that people would change is apostate and offensive. Since the majority of those posts on that topic are mine, I would assume that I am at least somewhat included in that. Yet then you specifically say I am NOT anti or apostate. So I’m thoroughly confused.

    If you actually read my posts (which I know you did), recall that I presented non-doctrinal things. I presented examples of how our current practices came about. I explained how much things have already changed, and they weren’t changed through revelation but generally though someone’s personal opinion. I explained why they could easily be changed to be more palatable toward people within and outside the church without changing doctrine.

    These posts resonated with a number of people. Your comments don’t. Your “crusade”, as you present it, is doing nothing. My non member friends would be far more offended by what you write than anything else I have seen in here (with the exception of Dan’s comments).

    If you are truly so offered by what you see on here, the solution is easy. Delete this site from your browser and don’t come back. I don’t go to porn sites thinking I can help them “see the light” – I just don’t go to them. Let us discuss issues important to us without your and Dan’s offensive interactions. Maybe we and you would be better off if you refrained from posting.

    I’ve never been this blunt before, but there it is.

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  59. Ray on July 28, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    This is what I get for trying to be precise:

    I meant to say, “and your last comment doesn’t deal **accurately** with this post or anything I actually said in my comments.”

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  60. Mike S on July 28, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    Er, offended, not offered.

    That’s what happens when you respond from a phone in the line for the X2 roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain with nine kids riding all day :-)

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  61. Will on July 28, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    Mike S,

    Thanks for the feedback.

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  62. Will on July 28, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    Ray,

    Fair enough. I am just defending things the way I see them. If you don’t agree that’s fine. As illustrated from Mike’s comments I have clearly rubbed some people the wrong way. However, per you and Mike coming back it is clear my comments have caused you to ponder things in a different light. The way I say things clearly has an impression.

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  63. Will on July 28, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    Mike s,

    One more thing. If that was a reprimand, it was mild. I am use to my dad.

    I am grateful for the feedback. Sorry if I have offended you.

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  64. Mike S on July 28, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    Will,

    I don’t “come back” because you made new ponder. I come back in an attempt to make this site people actually want to visit. We encourage a wide range of opinions, but when someone is offensive, we can either point that out or moderate them. I would prefer that someone self moderate, and hopefully you will.

    and, yes, the way you say things clearly has an impression, but not all impressions are good.

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  65. Will on July 28, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    Mike S,

    Ok then, point it out. What is it that I have said that is offensive so I can correct it? It is just that you disagree, or was it offensive?

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  66. Will on July 28, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    pushed too soon.

    With the exception of Dan, I have never called anyone a name, or made fun of thier race, or sex, or religion. So what is it that is offensive? By the way, PLENTY of names have come my way and not just from Dan.

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  67. Mormon Heretic on July 28, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    Will, you really want to know what people find offensive? Look at the comments you make with a huge majority of “thumbs down.” That’s a good idea of what people find offensive. And you wear this as some sort of badge of honor.

    Believe it or not Will, there are times I actually agree with you. But you’re such a jerk when you express your opinion, that I hate to admit agreeing with you. Learn some tact.

    You seem to enjoy offending people. You’ve called yourself the same thing that Dan called you earlier, and you have admitted to purposely pushing buttons. Are you really so dense that you don’t know what people find offensive?

    Really Will, please move on to another blog. You derail every conversation here. We’ve put up with you long enough. Our readers are tired of your schtick, and are requesting you to be banned. We’ve tried to be patient, but you don’t seem to get the message. Move along–please go disrupt another blog, or find another one where you don’t feel the need to pick fights. The Bloggernacle is big, and I’m sure there’s another home more suited to your tastes.

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  68. Mike S on July 28, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    Will,

    You want me to point out what is offensive? I’m afraid that is impossible.

    There are certain ways of expressing opinions that are acceptable in society. If you honestly haven’t learned that in however many years you have been alive, there is nothing I can say in a single comment that will correct that.

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  69. J.Ro on July 28, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    For somewhere to start, my gut reaction is to feel offended when someone, seemingly in disgust, says that their vitriol is representative of the majority of Latter-Day Saints (which includes me). Be careful about who you say you represent. If your major concern is about how bloggers are representing the church, consider that people also read the comments, which is another very easy place to misrepresent the Church, and to unwittingly tear down its authorities and make its membership seem juvenile and spiteful.

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  70. hawkgrrrl on July 29, 2011 at 4:01 AM

    Stephen – I agree about the women praying suggestion. GC has often been used to clear up folklore. Along those same lines colored shirts (already mentioned) and a GA with facial hair would be nice.

    Other ideas:
    – new choir robes. They are not all bad, but some of them look like Lawrence Welk castoffs from the 1960s.
    – prayers that aren’t longer than the talks.
    – ban the word “supernal.” I challenge anyone to find a contemporary use of that word outside of the church. Plus it looks like “supernatural” when it’s in print.
    – replace oft-repeated stories with “yada yada yada.” There are a few speakers who would use that phrase a lot.

    Overall, I like GC – much more than I used to when I was younger and 8 hours seemed like an eternity. Especially since TiVO allows me to skip the hymns, prayers, reading of stats, and sustainings. Cut to the chase. Bada bing bada boom. That thing’s only about 4 hours long!

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  71. Stephen M (Ethesis) on July 29, 2011 at 7:23 AM

    a GA with facial hair would be nice they all have facial hair … oh, you mean, one who isn’t shaving it off every morning ;)

    But having a GA with displayed facial hair would be like having one who was a democrat.

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  72. Dan on July 29, 2011 at 7:41 AM

    Stephen,

    a registered democrat or identifying with democratic principles? Because I do believe Marlin K Jensen is a democrat, as was James E Faust. Thus, it is clear they should also have beards or some facial hair. :)

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  73. Alice (alliegator) on July 29, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    How about President Uchtdorf or President Eyring come out as a democrat. They could mention something offhand in a GC talk. :)

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  74. N. on July 29, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    Really Will, please move on to another blog. You derail every conversation here. We’ve put up with you long enough. Our readers are tired of your schtick, and are requesting you to be banned.

    Ooooh! Can we do this for other commenters? I personally find [REDACTED] to be a self-righteous prig! Tell [REDACTED] to move along as well; ban [him/her].

    I am totally surprised that [REDACTED] doesn’t have as many thumbs down. [He/she] is at least as abrasive and obnoxious as [coddled commenter].

    I love the much-vaunted love of diversity purported in the bloggernacle and love “caring about the lost sheep” that the bloggernacle prides itself on. You can tell who they love and want to influence most because they are very giving– giving the dislike button at every opportunity.
    I think the best way to show love of diversity of opinion is to tell someone take their ball and go home.

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  75. Howard on July 29, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    Wow what happened to this thread? I rarely agree with Will and sometimes find his comments socially unacceptable he seems to enjoy taking a contrary position and stirring the pot with it here he has gone over the top in derailing the conversation as most focus on him (which he probably loves) rather than the topics of discussion for this I think he should be moderated he has been acting like a child and needs a child’s correction and direction. However aside from his immature way of saying it Will actually has something to say and represents a view point capable of challenging the rest of the discussion in a healthy way.

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  76. Toni on July 29, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    I began to read this expecting some really fun ideas. While some are here, I was very disappointed to see a fight in progress. This is light-hearted harmless fun, not brethren-bashing. What a mess to try to wade through, looking for posts that apply to the topic. Moderate? Please?

    I second some of these ideas, and maybe can add a few more. Shirts of different colors. Some male facial hair (as desired – requiring it is as bad as banning it). All prayers very short and to the point (i.e. – “We invite thy Spirit in. We open our hearts to what you want us to learn and be and do.”)

    Women praying about half the time sounds great! (Randomly.) No written talks – all given via the Holy Spirit like in the old days.

    I liked it when we had three days of conference. I really miss those days, even though my brain was usually fried by the end. Strangely, I like the idea of an hour Sunday meeting. Of course if each gc session was 1 1/2 hours, that would be all right – give me time to digest things.

    No speaker would be allowed to say how wonderful they are, nor brag on kids/grandkids, nor give talks specifically geared “to my grandchildren”, etc. No talks on how wonderful the church is because it is helping xxxx amount of people (instead a topic about Jesus’ words of not letting your left hand know what your right hand is doing). Well, I guess this paragraph just offended at least one side of the argument going on here. Oh, well.

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  77. Stephen M (Ethesis) on July 29, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    Dan, I wasn’t clear enough, I was joking about the Democrat as a G.A. I remember them making a point of it a while back that there were Democrats who were G.A.s

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  78. Stephen M (Ethesis) on July 29, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    This is light-hearted harmless fun, not brethren-bashing.

    I was trying.

    My next post will be on “cute” and will try harder.

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  79. Toni on July 30, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    Stephen, you’ve already got the light-hearted fun down (I enjoyed your posts).

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  80. Bro. Jones on July 30, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    #70 Never thought of watching GC on Tivo. I actually haven’t watched conference in years because it bores me to tears (I read the Ensign it comes out, though). Skipping the filler and music would be great. Thanks for the suggestion!

    As for the disagreement in this thread, I’ll stay out of it except to repeat what I’ve said before, more or less: it’s quite possible to state your disagreement in an adult way that doesn’t derail threads or make you sound like a smug jerk. I address this to nobody in particular and everyone at once.

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  81. Geoff - A on July 31, 2011 at 4:38 AM

    I would like to have a session of genuine (not sanitised) question and answer.

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  82. hawkgrrrl on July 31, 2011 at 5:38 AM

    Geoff – A, Not sure whethere GC is the best outlet or not, but I do think the idea of a completely open Q&A forum is a good one, probably best handled with write in questions. I’m not opposed to giving people time to prep their answers.

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  83. Loins on July 31, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Prep time is one thing, but it also introduces the possibility of cherry picking questions and ignoring inconvenient ones.

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  84. Ray on July 31, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Elder Scott was in Iowa recently for a leadership training session and a YA meeting. Both sessions were unscripted, open, question and answer time. My daughter said the YA meeting was amazing.

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  85. hawkgrrrl on July 31, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    Loins – better they cherry pick than answer something they don’t know. At least IMO.

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  86. Stephen M (Ethesis) on July 31, 2011 at 11:23 PM

    better they cherry pick than answer something they don’t know ;)

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  87. Geoff - A on August 1, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    At present there is no forum for asking questions of leaders. Certainly where I live.

    I have seen a book of questions and answers from one of the mid last century prophets. These were not the sanitised things we see in the Ensign.

    I see no reason it couldn’t be done now especially with enhanced communication methods. It would help us to feel like someone was interested in our concerns.

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  88. Douglas on August 5, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    #70 – “Bada Bing?” “Sounds” like someone who grew up near Philly (esp Frankford) or “Joisy”. Oh, what I’d give to hear a GC speaker say “Bada Bing” or even “Yada, Yada, Yada….”
    I agree with the notions of cutting down on repetitiveness. My main issue is not so much the content but the holier-than-thou tone that all too many use. Gets in the way of hearing the counsel of the “Lord’s Anointed”.
    I’d actually like the Church to pay heed to what’s said in GC, so, if nothing else, they’ll shut up and move on to something else.

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