This week’s top topic was more analysis of the exciting revelations from last week!
Paul Senzee has a Word of Wisdom anecdote many of us can relate to. Roger Hansen pointed out that the “clarification” raises a bunch of new questions:
- Does this make ice-tea okay?
- If its not the caffeine, what is wrong with hot drinks? Why the prohibition on coffee and tea?
- Is it okay to drink coffee and tea if they are only luke warm?
- What is the situation with energy drinks (where they ramp-up the caffeine)?
In case you missed the earlier discussion, Andrew S provided a good chronology and hit on some key points:
In fact, interestingly enough, we see what seems to be an institutional choice toward more ambiguity, not less. [...] I think it more plausible that the change focuses around pushback (whether actual or even projected) from the members who do not drink caffeinated soda and who, in fact, believe that caffeinated sodas have always been prohibited.
To these folks, the earlier statement on the Word of Wisdom would have come as a system shock. Their entire lives and beliefs regarding the Word of Wisdom were invalidated with three lines (old version).
I agree with Andrew that this sort of ambiguity is a way for the church to let members govern themselves — except that it would be better if they’d make it clear that they want members to decide for themselves on this one, rather than implying that the CoJCoL-dS does have a policy on this and it’s X. And it is also the opposite of X.
Of course, there’s no ambiguity on one point — girls need to cover their shoulders, and Church publications will not hesitate to doctor photos to enforce this rule. Nobody likes being made fun of, but is the LDS PR machine turning itself into a joke?
Similarly, Postmormongirl’s clarification from last week had a new clarification this week. Specifically, the first president issued a statement to clarify that:
At various times, this statement has been attributed erroneously to President Thomas S. Monson, President Henry B. Eyring, President Boyd K. Packer, and others. None of these Brethren made this statement.
But, in fact, it turns out that Ezra Taft Benson did make a statement (when addressing a BYU fireside) that was very similar to the “debunked” statement. So, the clarification from the First Presidency — while not technically false — could use a little additional information if they wanted to avoid misleading people.
njmaverick gave a good explanation of how “lying for the Lord” works:
The vast majority of Mormons would have the same views on honesty as the vast majority of Christians, most of the time.
However. There are aspects of Mormonism that allow for a level evasion and truthiness of what most would regard as dishonesty.
This makes it tricky to discuss changes in doctrine or even past Mormon political actions.
And how about that election? Have religion and politics merged? So, at the latest count, Romney‘s the Libertarian choice because Obama is the devil (or at least a Socialist).
Unsurprisingly, some here crave authenticity, and recommend strategies for getting at truth. Solutions include Im Not Going To Worry About It, reading with an open mind, and staying calm in the face of cognitive dissonance.
You may also have heard that a famous religious leader recently died, prompting people to notice comparisons with other religions. Daniel Midgley made an interesting parallel between religion and drugs (different ones have different effects and levels of addictiveness). And Steve Wells gave a great list of examples to back up Billy Graham’s claim that the Bible is the greatest self-help book.
And now it’s time for the grab bag of posts by wayward/freethinking souls who decided not to write on this week’s topic!!
Burning Man was very cool. This Lego replica of the SLC Temple is pretty cool too. Christine Butterworth-McDermott wrote a lovely poem about a Mormon wedding, and Cate told an interesting tale of a special lesson (for the ladies) from the bishop. Matthew responded to Don Bradleys “Pillars” talk (I was there, and it reminded me of Douglas Adams’ puddle analogy as well). Dan recalls what it’s like to be Mormon, Mormon411 had an unfortunate interaction with Mormon relatives, Monica and Serge had a touching moment (sort of), and Chandelle made lemonade. NoCoolNameTom reviewed John Turners Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet and InconvenientRuth shared her journey through cancer and the church. And — for the francophones — don’t miss Runtu interviewed by Radio France International!!
After a hectic week, I finally had a relaxing weekend! Not only did I have time to gather and read these links at a leisurely pace, but I also did some biking with my son and even started on getting a new server service for my planned exmo Minecraft server!! Which will be used for MSP as well, if it’s good. I think I’m starting to get back into the groove. Hope you’re having a good week too!