Sunday in Outer Blogness: Our Tribe Edition!
It’s time for that age-old rivalry: Red vs. Blue!! (Despite my years in Mormonism, I never had any connection with this football rivalry, but maybe some of you know something about it.) In other tribes, k wrote about some unique Mormon doctrines — and is curious about the fact that you are told which tribe of Israel you belong to at your patriarchal blessing. And J G-W — writing from the Affirmation Conference — seems confident that Affirmation is moving towards affirming GLBT Mormons’ faith in the CoJCoL-dS.
We all know that a lot of friends and family get excluded from Mormon weddings (because only observant, adult Mormons are allowed to attend temple weddings), and that Family First Weddings is trying to convince the church to stop penalizing people for having a civil ceremony along with a temple wedding. Well, it turns out that excluding people who aren’t observant enough may be counter-productive to fostering a connection with the community:
It reminds me of going to Orthodox Talmud Torah as a kid. They told us that any one of us who married a non-Jew was fulfilling Hitlerâ€™s plan. They also told us that if the United States ever went to war with Israel, we would have to fight on Israelâ€™s side. Fair to say they took commitment to the Jewish people fairly seriously.
But I actually like those guys, in retrospect, better than I like this article! Because letâ€™s face it â€” they knew my family didnâ€™t keep kosher. They knew we werenâ€™t shomer shabbos and they knew that when we came to pray on Saturday morning, we drove there, parked three blocks from shul, and walked the rest of the way, just to keep up appearances. It wasnâ€™t a problem. They let me keep going to Hebrew School there, and they let me stand up and be bar mitzvahed there just as if I were observant. I think itâ€™s fair to say I learned a lot there that helped keep me part of the Jewish community for life.
There’s a similar sort of story here.
Denver Snuffer’s excommunication is still inspiring commentary. Alan Rock Waterman came up with an allegory comparing the CoJCoL-dS to KFC:
In the middle of all this trouble, you hear about one of your employees out of Idaho. He is not a member of top management, just a nobody from the hinterlands; but this guy is saying things that are resonating with your customers. It’s true, he tells them, their suspicions are correct. Kentucky Fried Chicken has been going downhill ever since the death of Colonel Sanders. But his message to your customers is one of optimism: Don’t Despair. Stay with the brand. Management may have made some goofball mistakes over the years, but managers are only human and those mistakes can be corrected. The good news is that Original Recipe Chicken is still available if you look for it.
As a member of the board of directors, what do you about this employee? Well you fire him, of course.
Ren provided an interesting counterpoint:
If youâ€™re going to publish material and imply the current leadership is in a state of apostasy, what do you expect? I would have been surprised if they hadnâ€™t exâ€™d him. I donâ€™t know a lot about Snuffer but what I have heard in interviews and read on his blog, he reminds me of Jim Harmston. […] Snuffer strikes me as disingenuous in his blog posts about this, playing the role â€“ consciously or not â€“ of humble â€œgee golly, who me, controversial?â€ guy.
On that note, did the narrator get ex’d too, or something? And now not only are women tempting fate by trying to attend the men-only priesthood session, a woman had her husband ordain her to the to the Melchizedek Priesthood — with the blessing of Heavenly Mother. If only the CoJCoL-dS could come up with an object lesson about the gender-segregated priesthood — one that works, not this umbrella thing.
Rachel Whipple warned that you can’t believe everything you hear in church — but I still think it would be easier for Mormons to keep track of their own doctrine if the church didn’t discourage discussion of controversial doctrines, like these sacred temple rituals.
LDS Philosopher got off to a good start with this discussion of pragmatic vs. monastic doctrines and practices, but then wrongly categorized condemnation os same-sex marriage in the pragmatic cross-belief practices category. Runtu wrote a great illustration of where that logic leads.
This week’s scripture topic appears to be Pharisees. Alex detected a certain irony in a Mormon song about this tale of not being able to see what doesn’t fit your picture of the world. Daniel also wrote a comic on bias, plus Dad’s Primal Scream had a related encounter with a commenter:
I find it curious that a stranger over the Internet finds my 18 year-old self unqualified to have served a mission while my then-Bishop, my then-Stake President and the then President of the LDS Church felt otherwise. In the same vein, in order to teach at the MTC in Provo, my then-Mission President wrote a letter of recommendation attesting to the fact that he considered me in the top 10% of missionaries who served with him. Yet 30 years after the fact, you a stranger on the Internet, are able to discern otherwise.
In life journeys, check out the things Bill does now that he’s no longer LDS! Donna is still having Mormon dreams, but they’re funny now. Dave has developed some emotional distance from the CoJCoL-dS. Hackman mused on his old worldview. Lindsay is coming out again: “The difference this time is that instead of coming out of anger [when I came out as no longer being LDS], I’m coming out from a point of openness and love.”
Politics came up quite a bit this past week. Little miss attitude had some complaints about the GOP (related to SNAP), and Glen Beck has come unhinged. Kevin Dudley explained why he won’t be voting for David Alvord for mayor. On the other hand, GeorgeH highlighted a conservative Republican who is urging people to take climate change seriously. Also, news has come to light of an incredible catastrophe that was narrowly avoided in the 60’s (and covered up).
Now for the grab bag: Some infographics, an imaginary country, a book review: Into The Jungle – Great Adventures In The Search For Evolution, and Elder Gandy is back.
Now it’s time for some laundry and helping-the-kids-with-homework. Happy reading and happy Sunday!
As a very happy apostate, I am sincerely having a difficult time understanding the mindset of those trying to change the church by those begging for female ordination, surreptitiously engaging in female ordination, and pleading for the right to have a civil marriage ceremony.
But then, I’ve been out long enough that I now fall in the group that sees the embarrassing obviousness of the gaping holes in Mormon truth claims. I have a very difficult time remembering what it was like to exist in a state of limbo where I questioned everything but still believed in the essence of the faith.
Why don’t these people demanding female ordination just start ordaining women in church? Why don’t these people who want to have civil marriages just go ahead and have them? Do what is right, let the consequence follow, you silly sods. Don’t stand around with your empty porridge bowl begging, “Please Salt Lake, I’d like some more.” Either be revolutionaries, get back in line, or leave the church. I find this eternal whinging without results quite sad.
@1: that attitude is every bit as helpful and enlightened and thoughtful as the TBMs who say, “Why don’t these whiny losers who left the church just leave it alone? What’s wrong with them that they have to read and blog and talk about the church they left? So they got their feelings hurt. Get over it. You’ve done what is wrong, now let the consequence follow, you silly sods. Donâ€™t stand around with your empty porridge bowl begging, â€œPlease everyone, listen to me complain about my tortured past some more.’ I find this eternal whinging without any healing or closure quite sad.”
We’ve all watched people malinger in relationships they should just end. Sometimes people have to see how much change the person/institution they’re in a relationship with is capable of before they throw in the towel.
You experience what’s going on as “eternal whinging without results”–but why is that so? After all, no one whinges eternally, and there have been results–maybe not the changes people really want, but the church has still changed on some big things in the past five years.
Perhaps you are not paying attention to the individuals in the struggle. They DON’T see what they’re doing as “eternal whinging.” They often experience it as brand new, because it often is brand new to them, which is one of the things I personally sometimes find annoying–like Mormon feminism was invented in 2012 or even 2005. Whatever.
Anyway, it’s not like there’s this one monolithic, unchanging liberal Mormon who is always trying and failing to get the church to change. Who it is making the effort and how much they’re willing to devote to the cause is constantly in flux.
Kate Kelly of Ordain Women is pretty new to organized Mormon feminism. It’s possible that she’ll succeed but more likely that she’ll fail, in which case that failure might be the impetus for her and many other women to leave the church. If so, eventually there will undoubtedly be someone to take her place, the only question being who and when. It’s just part of the process.
But in the meantime, realize that if you’re so happy with your apostasy, it’s not about you. People aren’t obligated to become apostate or become happy with their apostasy on your timeline. It’s not like people turn 12 or 13 and look into a crystal ball and say, “Huh. Turns out I’m going to figure out when I’m 17 or 24 or 35 or 48 that the church I’m so invested in is full of shit, and it’s going to break my heart, and I’m going to spend a couple of years trying to get it to change before giving up in abject failure, which will take a huge toll on all my relationships. That sounds really shitty, so to avoid all that, I’m just going to leave now and spare myself the misery.”
No. People have to go through every step of the process to get the end of it, just as you did.
In other words, hope springs eternal, even for every new crop of liberal Mormons, and defeat and failure are almost always hard to come to terms with.
Ignore those two facts and you won’t understand protests and agitation within Mormonism–or human nature.
Exactly — and it’s the response to the same charge that gets leveled against apostates, that we’re constantly repeating the same angry arguments. It’s the same arguments and the same anger, but it’s a new batch of people discovering/experiencing them every year.
Molly @1, I get where you’re coming from because — like you — I don’t think the CoJCoL-dS is worth trying to fix. But I agree with Holly @2 (and as I was saying in the baby and the bathwater), just because it’s not worth it to me doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be worth it to anyone.
I agree with both Holly and Molly. I am in a position of non-belief and really don’t see the value of a false priesthood power. However; I know others hold a different belief and they do value these things and for them I follow the movement of feminist Mormons with interest and I support their efforts.
I personally have no need or desire for patriarchy or priesthood ordinations but, as a non-believer, I have been affected by the Temple Marriage practice. I was not able to attend my only daughter’s wedding. I sat in the waiting room and visited with a very nice older missionary couple who did everything in their power to make me and my partner feel a part of something.
This practice needs to change; this practice makes no sense. A church that claims to be all about family and love makes it very difficult to be a family sometimes. I’m not saying that everyone should be allowed to attend the Temple ceremony. (I have attended so many temple weddings that I knew exactly what my daughter’s ceremony was like.) But the temple ceremony needs to take a back seat to marriage ceremonies in public places. A couple should be allowed to choose to marry outside the Temple without being punished or marginalized.
My daughter was sensitive to her family and friends who were not able to attend the temple. She did hold a ‘ceremony’ afterwards. But we were all aware this was simply a ring ceremony and the ‘important’ stuff had been taken care of in the temple and we were not righteous enough to attend that one.
Of course being raised Mormon the fact that I couldn’t attend my daughter’s wedding was not a big surprise; however, it was a big disappointment.
This dynamic made me think of how when you’re writing a novel, and have alpha and beta readers point to problems in your prose. As the author, you have a choice of whether to make the changes or not. But if a series of unrelated readers keep saying the same things, then you should probably change it.
Here, when new batches of people experience the same problems in the Church, it’s silly that the Church’s response is to gloss over the prose (add or take out a comma here and there) rather than rewrite the scene. It’s as if they fear that changing the scene ruins the story. They refuse to acknowledge that unless the scene is changed the story is already ruined.
If a reader puts the work into editing your manuscript, and you always dismiss the edits, then you’ll lose readers. And eventually, news will get out that you’re an impossible writer to work with.
It would be great if the Church could view “apostasy” as everyone working to make the same story better.
I’d like to think that today’s social media is a game changer.
Exactly. The policy of penalizing the people who have a temple wedding + a civil wedding is wrong in so many ways. It even hurts the CoJCoL-dS’s own image: the fact that it’s only the policy in some countries gives people the impression that the church is simply excluding and punishing in order to make sure that their US & Canadian members stay up to date on their tithing.
of course it’s a game changer–look at how it has already change things with Pants and Let Women Pray, or for that matter the article on Slate about the temple marriage policy. I kept track of the comments–it got up to 4,000 in four days, which is most comments anything I’ve written has ever attracted so far. Then, Monday morning, Slate redesigned its website and they all went away, though at least you can still see the 1,800 facebook likes…. But still, I’m sure that the church was paying attention, because I know they do monitor how the church is discussed on the web. I also suspect that they were shocked by the vehemence of feeling. And now they’re left with the choice of 1) maintaining a policy people actively loathe and leave the church over vs 2) looking like they’re susceptible to pressure, which is not something they want to admit.
Anyway, I’m sure the church will protest mightily, but I think Ordain Women is already responsible for the decision it announced yesterday to broadcast the priesthood session over the internet so that women can now watch it–they just can’t attend. That was a small decision no one asked for, so the church can claim that they made it just for its own sake, not because of anything else going on.
I was speaking to Kate’s real goal, to the larger question of female ordination. I personally will be surprised if Ordain Women gets that done in ten years or less. But we’ll see.
That SLT pic of all men in black suits and ties is ridiculous. I’m pretty sure that many LDS men are uncomfortable with current policy… as I mentioned before, statistics show that a much higher percentage of LDS men are open to female ordination than LDS women. I’ve seen repeated comments mentioning women who have attended the meetings and it was no problem, so it’s hard to tell whether the larger Ordain Women group will be allowed admission. The Church is probably weighing the options right now: let them in, and maybe this will all blow over (e.g., ordain women will start to lose steam), or don’t let them in and risk creating news and controversy and growing the org.
given that they weren’t given tickets, I think it’s unlikely that just waiting in line will get them admission. But I intend to be there no matter what happens, just to see for myself if nothing else.
Could you repeat some of those comments? I’ve heard of women being allowed to attend the broadcast in stake centers, but very few stories of woman allowed to enter the tabernacle or conference center to see the meeting live. Instead, there are stories of pointed exclusion from the live meeting. Sister Monson was not allowed even to stand in the foyer to hear her husband speak after he became an apostle, and in 2007, Rosalind Hall of BYU’s music dept was not allowed to attend even though she directed the choir that performed the special numbers and had arranged the songs they sang. A man was found to direct the choir that one night for her.
Ah, thank you for clarifying this for me. The one I saw on the SLT article was about a broadcast, and before that, I believe I saw one on FMH by a man also talking about women can enter, but they’d be bored. I’m now thinking that it might be a thing where men are saying “You can, but why would you want to?” when really, the policy is they can’t.
I think it’s a good strategy, in any case, tearing down / questioning the gendered spaces one at a time.
I found this article helpful about why female ordination is not possible — or at least, some of the bigger variables that need to be considered.
email I’d blog
@14 cool — do you have any examples of your writing online?