Sunday in Outer Blogness: The crux of the problem edition!
What a week! By now you know the excommunication axe finally fell on John Dehlin!! How could you not know? — Dehlin is a man with an impressive list of press contacts (see the transcript in the New York Times!). The CoJCoL-dS must have known that X’ing JD would just hand him the moral high ground while making the church look bad in the process — yet they did it anyway!!! Why? Why? Why???
The danger of people thinking the CoJCoL-dS is sexist or homophobic was important enough that President Anonymous Q. Newsroom decided to release a statement explaining that that’s not it at all, in fact it’s about disbelieving this stuff:
- Disputing the nature of our Heavenly Father and the divinity of Jesus Christ.
- Statements that the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham are fraudulent and works of fiction.
- Statements and teachings that reject The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as being the true Church with power and authority from God.
Wow. You really sure that’s going to make it better…? The Book of Abraham is the smoking gun that shot and killed Joseph Smith’s credibility as a translator of ancient records. People who want to stay in the CoJCoL-dS have been scrambling for decades to find ways to convince people it’s not a problem. Many people bolstered the faith with the solution that it’s OK to treat this one book as flight of imagination on JS’s part — and now those guys have just learned that on a whim of their local stake president they could be next. Some are already being disciplined and don’t know it!
But you know they won’t excommunicate anywhere near all the people they could excommunicate. There seems to be some randomness involved, but what has essentially emerged is that it’s OK to have doubts (or even unorthodox beliefs) — as long as you keep your mouth shut about it and make sure nobody has any idea that you have doubts. Which, in practice, means that it’s not OK to have doubts.
I listened to JD’s MSNBC interview and essentially agreed with him, especially on his point that the presidency of the CoJCoL-dS doesn’t get to define who’s Mormon and who isn’t. Same for his point that this isn’t going to solve the problems or answer the questions that the CoJCoL-dS is trying to sweep under the rug. It simply emphasizes the CoCJoL-dS’s solution to problems isn’t to address them, but rather to shoot any messenger who points them out.
These excommunications have hurt the church’s claims to moral leadership and have destroy people’s trust. It is chilling for borderland members. It also encourages the hardliners to make the borderlanders feel even less welcome. People are leaving the church over this.
Runtu wrote a great analogy to illustrate the finer points of what’s wrong with the strategy of the CoJCoL-dS:
The comments section of Luciferâ€™s blog would always be closed.
Yet he would not be satisfied, as long as anyone out there spoke out against him. Though he was given a wide berth for blanketing the world with his message and shouting it from the rooftops, Lucifer would claim that the Church was silencing him. He would claim that all he wanted was free expression, open and respectful dialogue, and everyoneâ€™s comments taken at face value. This he said while belittling believers and leading away the hearts of many.
As if there wasn’t enough drama, some guy who claimed to work for the CoJCoL-dS (and who is apparently a sex offender) grabbed this opportunity to speak ill of John Dehlin, but removed his blog when he started getting negative attention — and then people felt bad about participating in this since it looked like maybe the guy was mentally ill.
And don’t forget about Kate Kelly’s excommunication — here’s a funny, spot-on video about Mormons’ reaction to it.
Oh, and, yesterday was Valentine’s Day, and with it came the magical present of Fifty Shades of Grey. Many have pointed out that it’s not a healthy depiction of BDSM (or of any kind of healthy relationship for that matter), but the problem is that nobody wants to read about healthy BDSM! And the book succeeds at accurately portraying an abusive relationship. Problem is, maybe we shouldn’t be glorifying this type of relationship.
Comparing the Mormon reaction to this film with their more ambivalent/indulgent reaction to (Mormon) Meyer’s Twilight (which Fifty Shades of Grey was based on), it looks like they’re more concerned about whether a story contains sex than about whether it encourages healthy vs. abusive relationships. But who needs creepy sex novels when Mormonism offers faithful men an even better form of creepy voyeurism!
There was a sub-theme about parenting challenges as two people wrote tales of dealing with kids who have mental health issues, and there was a beautifully insightful post of advice for prospective foster parents.
You may have noticed that the Brodie Winners have been announced — don’t forget to pick up your prize buttons! 😉 Also Ziff did some interesting analysis of the Wheaties/Tarefics.
Have a great week, and good luck with your pending excommunication!