Sunday in Outer Blogness: Who’s driving this train? edition!

True to his name, Profet anticipated this weeks hot topic in his piece highlighted last week!!

In a nutshell: The CoJCoL-dS posted an article about race on its official website, and everybody is super-happy to learn that racist doctrines (like curses or restrictions based on skin color) aren’t LDS doctrines (anymore). And people are impressed that the CoJCoL-dS came clean and admitted to having had racist doctrines, and apologized (J/K not really). But there’s a glaring problem with the announcement:

They claim to be led by god, but there’s an ugly history of racism in the church. So either they reaffirm that god is always in charge, even during those times, and it makes god look like a racist jerk, or they acknowledge that god had nothing to do with those doctrines and practices, in which case it becomes clear that god is not directing the church.

It not only contradicts the teachings of a string of past LDS prophets, but it contradicts the canonized scriptures pretty extensively. So, are they going to produce an edited edition of the scriptures, so the faithful will know which parts are still in force? And how does this affect the claim that the prophet will never lead the church astray?

When I was a Mormon, I learned that the scriptures are the highest authority, and that the prophets only teach things that are in harmony with the scriptures. So, is this website now the highest authority, empowered to override the prophets and scriptures on doctrinal matters…? It would be great to get a clear statement on this from Tomas Monson, in which he passes the mantle of prophetic authority to the magical, anonymous oracle that is the LDS.org website. (Maybe after correcting the scriptures, they can update the Hymn Book: “Follow the Prophet” => “Follow the Website”.) Or, for all we know, maybe the website was hacked.

Of course, there are certain advantages to putting the website pixies in charge of theology:

Here’s a quick rundown of how things evolved in the less than a two-year time period shown above:

“It is not know precisely why, how or when…” to

“Church records offer no clear insights into the origins…” to

“In 1852 Brigham Young publicly announced that men of black…”

The February and March statements were labeled by many as good steps forward. When I was critical about the change in the scriptures back in March I got pushback from many who said that it was a positive step and I should just ignore what was missing. But I couldn’t let it go because I knew that the Church knew!! And so now we have this new Gospel Topics page, just nine months later, leaving the scripture update looking pitiful, lacking, and empty. Which raises the question: did the Church really not know in February of 2012 why the ban happened? How about in March of 2013? Did they all of sudden discover all of the things revealed in the new web page over the last nine months? It is simply not possible. The next question is whether or not the Church will stop the printing of the new scriptures to reinsert a new introduction to the Official Declaration 2? Stop the presses!!

But perhaps it’s unfair to expect the website people (?) to know where the priesthood ban “policy” came from — it’s not clear they even know who is writing their own articles. But seriously, this inability of the church leaders to openly take responsibility for their positions on past and current doctrines undermines the church’s credibility.

in related commentary, some reminisced about racism or read about it, and some noticed the convenient timing of the statement:

Others spelled out the clear corollaries that the new church leaders (the website pixies) somehow failed to notice.

Speaking of patriarchy, today was the second annual event in which the Mormon women empower themselves a bit by wearing pants to church. (Or not.) Last year’s event was difficult for some — let’s see how this one will go!

And that’s not the only hot news story this past week! The courts struck down a Utah law prohibiting (polygamy-like) cohabitation. The decision referenced gay marriage, prompting I-told-you-so’s from the slippery-slope crowd.

But, enough issues — now the holiday season is in full swing! Some are celebrating by visiting different services, by trying out other traditions, or by enjoying secular traditions. One of my favorite holiday traditions is kicking back with some popcorn, watching the highlights of Fox New’s hilarious “War on Christmas” feature!! This last episode was probably the funniest ever, with a Fox News commentator seriously telling us that we all need to face facts and accept the reality that Santa Claus is white, and so was Jesus:

But I also love traditions like decorating the house and watching Christmas specials (I posted pictures here). The bedtime story I’m currently reading my kids is Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” — and maybe I should also read them the classic No, Virginia, There Is No Santa Claus:

Adults know that there is no Santa Claus. If they tell you otherwise, they are lying to you. That’s okay: some parents tell their children that Santa Claus is real as a sort of game, and there’s no evidence that this does any real harm. But if anyone keeps lying to you — about Santa Claus, or anything else — when you ask them a direct question and explicitly ask them to tell you the truth? That’s a problem. And if anyone tries to make you feel ashamed, or inferior, or like your life will be dreary and intolerable, simply because you don’t believe in this lie they’re telling you… you should be extremely suspicious. They are trying to manipulate you. It is not okay.

Now I’m off to bake some Christmas cookies!! Happy Holidays!

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8 Comments

  1. 1
    Alan says:

    The Church is experimenting with creating a webgospel. They can direct bishops to direct members to the site for thorny issues, which they can change at will. Why does one need a “revelation,” when they can just implement change with “updates?” If a member says, “It didn’t used to say that,” the bishop can say, “Oh, it’s been updated.” God has been technologized.

       0 likes

  2. 2
    chanson says:

    @1 lol. And the really handy part of this new techno-gospel is that by carefully selecting links to different parts of the site, you can custom-tailor the gospel’s content according to individual user preferences. ;)

       1 likes

  3. 3
    Pierre says:

    Can we consider the church website to be a new “Liahona,” on which directions appeared and then disappeared according to “God’s commandments of the day”? Impersonal, ephemeral, mechanical, gimmicky, no signatures, no dates, no attribution, no record trail unless some skeptic happened to write them down and keep track?

       2 likes

  4. 4
    chanson says:

    @3 That is a fantastic insight! That is the first idea I’ve read that makes all of this come close to fitting into LDS theology. Maybe Thomas Monson will explain it that way at the next General Conference. :D

       1 likes

  5. 5
    jason says:

    The church doesn’t know how to repent very well regarding its racist past. Maybe it needs to go back to primary and learn the first step … as in admit guilt. Then maybe and just maybe it can move on to the next step. Lds.org gospel topics section can show them the way to true light and happiness.

       0 likes

  6. 6
    Pierre says:

    According to Christianity’s 16th-century Reformers, the Church that Christ established fell into apostasy with doctrines and practices they “disavowed” and “condemned” as a part of what came to be called the Reformation. According to the 21st-century LDS leadership, the Church that Joseph Smith established in 1830 underwent a similar process, with prophets and apostles promulgating race-based theories and practices which the LDS leadership are currently “disavowing” and “condemning.” Is this 21st-century declaration part of a Reformation or a Restoration?

       0 likes

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Alan says:

    Huh, I wonder how long it’ll take to move through the Utah courts.

       0 likes

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