It has been a big week for shameless astro-turfing, as the new infomercial on Mormons hit the theaters! Members were encouraged to go see it or at least buy tickets — tithing deductible!! Despite the star power of the Mormon elite and the church’s famed information control, they haven’t convinced the public that it’s a real movie.
Fortunately, there was some happier news this week as marriage equality hit Utah! The CoCJoL-dS has officially conceded defeat on this issue. This affected folks from this community in a very personal way, as you can see from these beautiful photos, and from this touching tale of how important marriage can be when you need it:
That’s when I piped up and said, “I have a copy in my car if you need it.” (We had been advised that I should always have it with me, or at least easily accessible, just in case some hospital denied me rights.) The nurse looked at me somewhat quizzically. I took the leap and said, “I’m his husband.”
From that moment, everything changed. Her face brightened and she said, “Congratulations.” (I wondered if she thought we had just been married after Monday’s Supreme Court decision.) I smiled and replied, “Thank you. We were married in Hawaii, but as of Monday, our marriage is now legally recognized by the State of Utah.” Once again, she said, “Congratulations!”
From that point forward, she included me in the conversation just as she would have done had I been Mark’s wife. She asked my full name and wrote down my phone number. A warm glow spread inside of me, recognizing as I did that there would – thanks to Monday’s Supreme Court decision – be no issues relating to me being with Mark, no question of who was next-of-kin. As of Monday, the State of Utah recognizes me as Mark’s next-of-kin. We are now treated as a couple, as a family, not just two men who live together.
And, the results of last week’s conference are in!! The winner for most memorable image was the admonishment to stay in the boat! Given the problems with this metaphor, the memes just write themselves!! The most inspiring serious response is found in a Buddhist parable:
The Buddha then asks the listeners a question: â€œWhat would you think if the man, having crossed over the river, then said to himself, â€˜Oh, this raft has served me so well, I should strap it on to my back and carry it over land now?â€™â€ The monks replied that it would not be very sensible to cling to the raft in such a way.
The Buddha continues: â€œWhat if he lay the raft down gratefully, thinking that this raft has served him well, but is no longer of use and can thus be laid down upon the shore?â€ The monks replied that this would be the proper attitude.
The Buddha concluded by saying, â€œSo it is with my teachings, which are like a raft, and are for crossing over withâ€”not for seizing hold of.â€
An honorable mention goes the those hardworking anonymous drones in the Church Office Building for editing a prayer that mistakenly implied that the women’s meeting was an official session of conference like the men’s. (Regarding the women attending the priesthood session, this headline made me laugh out loud.) Also, they had to get in a jab at the non-believers. Another fun point was when prophet simply repeated an earlier talk, which highlighted the strange justifications for the church’s inspired way of finding a leader:
The word â€œremoveâ€ here is pejorative, and unnecessarily harsh. Why would a prophet who is â€œdisabledâ€ want to continue in a position where he is unable to function? And are we really sure that life-time appointments are â€œthe Lordâ€™s wayâ€?
In church discussion, Alan Rock Waterman defended Denver Snuffer and Andrew S discussed conservative arguments against liberal activism in Mormonism (tl; dr: no matter how counter-productive and generally awful the church’s strategies against activism may seem, it is everyone else’s fault, not the church’s). Then there was this interesting discussion about how the CoJCoL-dS has been silently deleting its unique doctrines — and I was with the author right up until this end bit:
And given that backdrop, it is deceptive and false for church critics to ignore very clear trends in recent history and suggest (as they often do) that Kolob continues to play some central role in Mormon belief or lived Mormon experience today.
I find the conclusion very funny/sad. Essentially, once upon a time, Mormons used to believe stuff. Now they mostly just believe that the “critics” are so mean and unethical for accusing the Mormons of believing the stuff that’s in their scriptures! As I’ve said before:
I think the most inaccurate part of the song â€œI Believeâ€ is that it portrays a post-Hinckley-era Mormon boldly proclaiming unique LDS doctrines, rather than defensively dodging questions about them
Well, it’s bedtime for me! I would have written this earlier, but I spent most of the day preparing (and then throwing) a birthday party for my son — it was great fun! But don’t let the lateness of the hour stop you from digging into this week’s fantastic discussions!