This week hosted two big kerfluffles! First there was Joni Hilton’s piece in Meridian Magazine on “Liberal Mormons”! It was so offensive that Meridian Magazine actually took it down, but John Dehlin came to the rescue and posed a cached version so that you, too, can personally experience the outrage, in case you missed it. And here are some great responses!
Then Kyle Pederson wrote an unfriendly letter to Dallin Oaks, who sent him an unfriendly response. This wouldn’t be news except that Kyle Pederson posted the exchange to the Internet for everyone to comment on. Here’s my favorite observation:
Still others are wondering why, when the Church regularly receives far more reasonable and well-considered complaints from faithful Mormons about all manner of issues, this is the protest that gets a response at all. It’s an excellent question. Are extreme positions the only ones that will be taken seriously by Mormon leaders?
For example, I wonder how far this reasonable letter will get?
In other random judgments, fat-shaming trick-or-treaters, the fashion police have taken over the Student Review, do you know what your butt looks like?, a pro-Dutch-gay-Mormon-marriage post is taken as “hate speech” by comment #3, and people who don’t have kids are apparently a bunch of free-loaders (though evidence suggests that pressuring people into stuff like marriage and kids they’re not ready for doesn’t promote stable families).
In life journeys, James R. Birrell discussed one reason it is hard for the apostate to go back while Andrew S presented an interesting analysis of why the orthodox members would like the fringe members to stay. Both Molly and M discussed dealing with death without religious faith. Jill asked how thinking style correlates with belief in God. Jen has re-evaluated the virtue of pride and Dad’s Primal Scream has done the same for the vice of niceness.
I want to promote this Latter-day Seekers movement because I think it’s a good option for a lot of people who leave the CoJCoL-dS but still want to be part of a church community. However, John’s latest post again leaves me asking Can you please make a positive pitch for why people would want to join your movement, instead of more jabs at those who aren’t interested? Of course, being as I got into trouble last time I tried to make that point (plus it would mean I’m ironically being all negative and judgy myself), I was going to ignore it. But then this lovely post from Knotty showed up in my feed this morning, demonstrating that it’s not so hard:
I see value in churches… but the value I see is not in worshiping God. It’s in making social contacts and enjoying music… sometimes, depending on the church you attend, you may get some wisdom in the form of a sermon.
I would probably go to church if I were on my own… Bill is now turned off of organized religion and has no desire to attend services. I’d rather be with him than go to church. But the church I would attend would no doubt be the church I was raised in, because as churches go, it’s pretty laid back and traditional. And since I have so much Scottish ancestry, it’s also heritage.
See, that actually makes church sound tempting, if I didn’t already have some other communities I’m busy with. Ren also gave a very positive pitch for Mormonism:
In my first or second meeting with the missionaries, they asked me to read aloud 2 Nephi 2:25.
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
I was flabbergasted. This was so diametrically opposed to the theology I was raised with – worshiping out of fear, begging for mercy. To think being here was a Good Thing was a revolutionary concept. And while these days I’m agnostic about whether it was a choice made in a pre-existence or that’s just a creative story, I’m certain that we should have joy. That verse made sense to me. It was life affirming.
Unfortunately, she was totally contradicted by a popular faithful blog this week:
Life is not for us to enjoy the pleasures and blisses that are occasionally proffered us. Instead, it is a military academy or a monastery, where we learn to be like Christ by following his path of self-denial.
Jesus fasted 40 days and nights, prior to beginning his ministry. He ended that ministry suffering through torture, beatings, humiliations, and crucifixion. What was his call to us? Take up our crosses and follow Him.
Then, in really bad stuff, there’s sex abuse ( <-- disturbing story) covered up by the church. Also, an atheist was kicked out of BYU (and evicted). Folks, I can’t warn you enough — they can and will throw you out without giving you official transcripts to get credit for the classes you took (but interestingly, they won’t refund you tuition for the classes they take back). If you have a choice, even if you’re a believer but just a little “liberal”, don’t go to BYU.
In this week’s grab bag, banning technology for the wrong reasons, Georgia state parks get some new Bibles, fun vegan recipes, more nuttiness from the Book of Mormon, and a philosophical question: “When did the right to own a firearm become more important than the right to a reasonable expectation that when you walk out the door in the morning to go to work some out-of-control jerk isn’t going to gun you down?”
Sadly, I didn’t see any new pics of people dressing up as mishies for Halloween — but it turns out that Halloween isn’t the only holiday this season. The high-chair travelers have introduced us to the customs of Dia de los Muertos and Diwali!
Oh, and the I am an exMormon video series is back!!! Have a great week!