Sunday in Outer Blogness: Mormon activists edition!
What do those Mormon progressives want? Actually, it’s not all that surprising.
Kate Kelly has stopped encouraging women to keep banging their heads against the church door (surprise: it actually feels a lot better when you stop). Sorry to discourage all the women who care about dragging the CoJCoL-dS into at least the late 20th century if not the 21st, but if you want a hint about what kind of success you’ll have, just follow the money.
Speaking of activists within Mormonism, Thinker of Thoughts has compiled more research on a chapter of Mormon history you probably haven’t heard of:
Like Lowry Nelson a decade before, Stewart Udall decided to write an open letter to promote change on a policy that he believed was wrong and hurt both the church and its members. As the highest ranking national Mormon political figure, his appeal would attract a great deal of media attention, much of which would be embarrassing for the church. In this post, we will examine the contents of that letter and the supportive feedback he received.
On a sad note, the leadership of Reddit decided that the best way to respond to the barrage of racist, misogynistic harassment of (now former) CEO Ellen Pao was to cave entirely and give the most grotesquely bigoted subreddits free super-premium ad-free service!! (With entirely predictable results.) This is sad because the Exmormon subreddit is such a fantastic community that doesn’t deserve to be tainted by that other shit. I really wish the mods of that sub would spin off an independent forum so that people can participate without their clicks and links subsidizing /r/coontown and the like…
In life journeys, the Fridge Profet shared his shelf-collapse story and Myrtlejoy recounted her conversion to coffee.
In tales of religious interactions, some Evangelical Christian groups succeeded in alienating fellow Christians by distributing a 12-page warning about Mormonism in the newspaper in a city where a Mormon temple is being dedicated. In the other direction, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that President Newsroom’s ideas about “religious freedom” are about as consistently applied as Mormonism’s modesty rules.
Then we have the LDS-interest short-takes: The CoJCoL-dS abridges quotes without even using ellipses! The Mormon marriage threesome. Where was the Garden of Eden supposed to have been? Mormons and monogamy. Same-sex couples in Utah can become foster parents. More hide-and-seek for the controversial “Gospel topics” essays on the official CoJCoL-dS website. A very good question about the LDS position on same-sex marriage. And a perennial favorite question: Is the LDS Church in Apostasy?
In scripture study, we have more brilliant military strategy in the Book of Mormon, a nevermo’s first visit to Kolob, how God values human life (according to the Bible), how conflicting narratives make the New Testament more credible (not), and an entertaining response to LDS apologetics:
Put another way. We know that the peoples, languages and ethnicities described in the Pentateuch (you left out Deuteronomy) were in the regions described, as an absolutely certain, incontrovertible, multiply documented fact. Did they rewrite their history some, and reinvent their origins? Sure.
And thatâ€™s just like the Book of Mormon isnâ€™t it? Where we are so sure that the peoples, languages and ethnicities described were in exactly the regions of the New World portrayed, as an absolutely certain, incontrovertible, multiply documented fact! And thatâ€™s why people like you and Bill Hamblin have failed totally to produce a single smidgeon of evidence in support of their mere existence. And Bill Hamblin and his friends have been searching for decades.
In other words, the situation with the Bible and the Book of Mormon is exactly identical, except that in the Mormon case, we have no trace of evidence that any of the peoples ever existed. Hmm, some difference, donâ€™t you think?
In books, the liberal-leaning faithful have a new spin on polygamy:
The use of a puzzle metaphor for Mormon plural marriage provides a clue as to what the reader will find in the ensuing pages. Their book is less a historically sound assessment of â€œJoseph Smithâ€™s polygamy,â€ than an attempt to bolster a rationale that â€œsolvesâ€ the inconsistencies of early Mormon plural marriage in light of the official position of the modern LDS church. Their high-flying acrobatics will be well received by those whose cultural mindsets engender a distaste for the principle. They will provide relief to those who wish to maintain their association with the church led by Thomas S. Monson while remaining unwilling to practice what was introduced by their founder Joseph Smith and taught by early authorities to be essential to exaltation.
And remember former-and-current Mo’s aren’t always writing about Mormonism! Here are images of Elna Baker’s dramatic weight loss and Galen Dara’s artistry, Knotty adjusting to a new lifestyle, Ren thwarting creeps, Karl Jarvis with your energy footprint, and Heather’s graduate research on homeless youth.
Now it’s time for fun! Would you like to learn more about Jerry the Aspousetate? How about Russel M. Nelson? Or a famous river in Egypt?
p.s. If you are in an interfaith marriage, please consider filling out this survey.
I recently learned what all ex-mos want: to destroy the church entirely.
And it wasn’t a TBM who informed me of this–no, it was an ex-mo. He explained that if you’re a real ex-mo, that’s the main thing you want, and you’ll dictate your actions accordingly. All your actions will be governed by the question of whether they build up or tear down the so-called kingdom of God.
Personally, I find that unbelievably silly–and a thoroughly Mormon mindset carried on to life after Mormonism. The church as an organization doesn’t matter to me any more than, say, FIFA. What matters is the quality of the lives of the people affected by institutions. Improving people’s lives should be the goal, not defining yourself in relation to one institution. That’s what we’re seeing in the evolution of Kate Kelly’s thinking, and I consider it a very good thing all round.
The CoJCoL-dS actively teaches this (see here for some references). It benefits the church to polarize the discussion into looking like a bitter fight to the death — that provides a convenient explanation for why exmos keep mentioning these true-yet-not-faith-promoting things about the church.
I think it’s one of the bits of “common knowledge” that people should question. The real picture is much more complex. Really, even if you think the CoJCoL-dS is a (net) force for harm/evil in the universe, it doesn’t necessarily follow that destroying it would be a high priority or even that it would be the best path to minimizing harm.
Personally, I’m interested in helping people deal with various church-related problems and conflicts in their lives. If I were to actively take “destroying the CoJCoL-dS” as a personal goal, it would hinder me from helping resolve conflicts because people would have very legitimate reason to reject my claim of being a disinterested party.
I think that among people who see the CoJCoL-dS as harmful, there (at least) two main competing strategic viewpoints: (1) The more horrible the church becomes, the more people see it for what it is and leave, and (2) since a certain portion of the membership is simply never going to see the CoJCoL-dS as being in the wrong no matter what, the more horrible the church gets, the more the church moves the surrounding culture in the wrong direction — and harms people and families.
These two viewpoints seem to encourage opposite strategies with respect to the church, and yet they are both right. One cool thing about supporting Ordain Women is that it acts on both fronts simultaneously: it drags the church culture in the right direction while giving the church plenty of opportunity to treat people in a way that is obviously horrible (as you’ve explained).
Not for this guy. That really is his primary goal. Anything that makes it easier for people to stay in the church is therefore evil, according to him. Ex-mos have an obligation not to participate in things like Ordain Women or efforts to make the church less homophobic, because if the church becomes more tolerant and less cruel, it will retain members.
the fact that anyone who can’t simply leave will suffer more in such a church is unfortunate, but necessary for the greater good, and if people weren’t so selfish and short-sighted, they would see that.
The guy was a total caricature of an ex-mo–and utterly sincere about it.
Yes! Supporting OW was a no-brainer for me. I didn’t think there was much chance that it would succeed, but if it did, it would make things better for so many people I care about.
and if it failed, well, I knew the struggle with trying to get the church to hear them would be very eye-opening for so many women.