The news of the Seerstone has been out for more than a week, and it has led to quite a bit of reflection and information on seerstones and church history. Also some fun stuff, like old-timey temple recommend questions and a glimpse into the future. Someone even found an old post post about how such magical objects were made!
The CoJCoL-dS is really going to town on confirming all that weird stuff you’d only heard rumors about before. Their own social blog just put up a post about the church’s secret vaults. It’s great that they’re being more honest, but it kind of calls attention to the fact that they weren’t being forthright before:
Oh, and the rock that Joseph actually used? According to outside sources (which turns out are more trustworthy than the whitewashed and carefully pruned history that the church reports), he found it and convinced people to hire him to use it to find treasure. I guess it didnâ€™t occur to those who hired him, that if he could find treasure, he wouldnâ€™t have been poor. He never found any treasure but he took the money and was subsequently brought up on charges â€“ another part of history missing from these books.
Some members aren’t happy to see magical thinking return to prominence in Mormon beliefs, but perhaps it’s inevitable. If the rock wasn’t really magic, then it starts to look like Joseph Smith was making all this supernatural stuff up…
Of course, as weird as all the folk magic in the early church was, what about what’s going on in the corporate church today? The Newsroom claimed that “[T]he admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church”, which leads people to sincerely ask: Really? Are you sure about that? Then some members who weren’t happy about being called out for criticizing the LDS Newsroom really nailed it:
4. Public Affairs will be aware that the most common interpretation of D&C 1:38 is that when the Brethren speak it is as if the Lord has spoken. Are we to understand that Public Affairs now stands in that chain? Does this make the Newsroom in some way revelatory? Public Affairs will be aware of the â€œPresident Newsroomâ€ jibe: would it be helpful if one of the apostles were to clearly explain its role and authority?
5. The Newsroom has been active in promoting a more nuanced view of the priesthood ban, as Brother Ottersonâ€™s discussion of the Gospel Topics essays shows. The essay on â€œRace and the Priesthoodâ€ tells us that, â€œ[o]ver time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.â€ Had the Public Affairs department of the church given voice to these mistaken theories via a news release at the time, what responsibility would members have had in relation to it? Would it have been reasonable to criticize such a release?
And Daniel Midgley spelled it out even more directly:
a. The morality of the world improves, or an unpleasant tidbit from church history emerges.
b. The Church feels pressure to change.
c. Church leaders resist the pressure, because that’s not how the church works!
d. The issue starts to affect the bottom line, as members leave.
e. President Newsroom releases an uncredited, unannounced essay on lds.org in the middle of the night.
f. Apologists, PR flacks, and surrogates defend the church
g. Church leaders say nothing to clarify church doctrine, so that everyone can keep believing what they like.
J. Max claims that when faithful Mormons post complaints to the Bloggernacle, itâ€™s like taking your marital problems down to the pub. I find that a very interesting metaphor. The problem is that all these faithful members â€” who do have a profound and intimate relationship to the church â€” donâ€™t have the equivalent of a living room or bedroom where they can talk to the people who make church policies and expect the leaders to listen to them and take their perspectives into account.
We have some more book reviews this week! Steve Otteson gave 4 1/2 tapirs to Faith Beyond Belief, Knotty reviewed Perfect: The Journey of a Gay Ex Mormon and Goodbye, I Love You, Jonathan Langford reviewed Steven L. Peck’s latest book, and Hans RoseKat reviewed The Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, Volume 3.
In interfath interactions, Ron V. Huggins is calling for authentic dialog between Mormons and Evangelical Christians. In other LDS culture stuff, a pool in Orem, UT is enforcing modesty rules for four-year-old girls. In philosophy, why are swear words a moral issue?
Well, that wraps up another fun week in Mormon-land! Any guesses on what they’ll do next week?