Kyle Ashworth, Guest Post
I’ve recently noticed an uptick in LDS church surveys being sent to active, disfranchised, and distant members.
With the Church, I never quite understand their motives—so I don’t want to speculate on why they do what they do. But one thing is more certain: the Church creates an atmosphere that prohibits open discussion and dialogue—but somehow they have to employ surveys to hear the “truth” from their members.
Imagine a world (church) where discussion of nuance and disagreement could take place in a two hour block, and freely accepted. Imagine a revelatory church where it’s issues could be forewarned long before the pews became empty and bare. Imagine a place of worship so strong that it’s strength is measured by the happiness of its members and not by the hiding of its history.
Surveys can only tell a fraction of the story, but the sound of feet leaving the chapels write novels. Hopefully someone is reading the surveys and listening to the doors close.
Tom Irvine’s comment: My eldest son who is less active received one of these survey requests and submitted his answers. One of his biggest concerns was the “worthiness interviews” which triggered his scrupulosity, a form of OCD.
We petitioned for this. We marched for this. 1,000’s of stories of abuse were openly shared for this. A damn long hunger strike was held for this. And here it is…highlighted in the April 2021 Liahona. The official publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In this article, the wife has left the church. The marriage is tenuous. Three suggestions on how to work through faith differences are proposed by the believing husband. Only ONE specific issue was mentioned. And it’s a doozie. -The Wife felt uncomfortable with one-on-one youth interviews and the questions that could be posed to their children!!! After discussion, believing husband and unbelieving wife agree that one of them would always be present with their kids. Together, they spoke with the bishop. He was supportive.YES!!!
.My friends, we did this. Thank you and congratulations.
Liahona, Maintaining Hope
“Unlike priests, generals, judges, and governors, a prophet does not have to be appointed by superiors, and a prophet’s status does not depend on advancement within a hierarchy or on completion of a course of study. As Amos and again Jeremiah inform us, God tells the prophet to speak. Prophecy is a “gift of the Spirit,” offered to whomever God wills, and societies can accept women as recipients of the gift and value them as prophets even as they deny women roles in the official hierarchies of religion and polity.
Toward the end of Israel’s history, King Josiah sent his men to see a female prophet, Huldah, to validate the discovery of a scroll in the Temple that called for Israel to behave in ways it had not been observing . . . (see 2 Kings 22:12–14).”It is not surprising to find . . . Huldah accepted as [a] professional prophet. Unlike priests, kings, judges, or administrators, prophets were not born to their role or appointed by a hierarchy.
There were cadres of professional prophets, but there were also lone mavericks, called by the spirit of God. . . . In Israel, where God often works through the marginal and brings the peripheral to the center, women appeared as the harbingers of history.”
—Rabbi Tikva Frymer-Kensky, quoted by Richard Rohr in his daily meditation
It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion–its message becomes meaningless.
Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism, 1955
(Reprinted with Stacy’s permission)
I went to bed last night just so sad thinking about misogyny in the church. But I had the most amazing, redemptive dream. In my dream, it was General Conference but in just a stake center building. The GA’s were sitting in a pew, and the plan was that they would get up one at a time to speak. But a few active, nuanced and post-mo women had a plan. After the opening prayer and hymn, a little group of us stood up and went to to the front and formed a human chain to block the GA’s from coming up to the microphone.
This caused an uproar from the believing members in the congregation, many of whom came up to make us move, pushing us, trying to pry us apart, yelling at us, calling us apostate, but we took the beating with grace, and refused to concede. The prophet and apostles were astonished and were “commanding” us to disperse and take seats or leave. We refused. More women in the congregation joined us. They left their kids, husbands, friends, and parents and stood with the women at the front. It was so many people that finally Nelson asked, “Why are you doing this? What is it you want?” And we said, “We want to speak.” So the leaders took a seat, told the people pushing us to take a seat and told us we could speak.
So we did. One at a time, women talked to the entire membership of the church who were watching, in person, or broadcasted all over the world, that we demanded apologies for bishops who traumatized us as young women with their inappropriate questions, for the church silencing and punishing people who told “anti-Mormon lies,” which turned out to be Gospel Topics Essays, for their treatment of blacks, LGBTQ people, and women, for propagating the us vs. them rhetoric that makes no place for people who doubt and question or their family members, for claiming church policies and doctrines that hurt people are from God, making people think God wants them to hurt, for claiming they speak for God when they really just speak for themselves and the social and legal pressure they’re under at the time, and on and on we went.
At one point, Bednar approached us and spoke, getting choked up, saying how he was moved by our plight and that the spirit was telling him this was important and needed to be sincerely acknowledged. Uchtdorf looked relieved. Oaks looked disgruntled. We were finally heard. We couldn’t be dismissed with letters of “go talk to your bishop.” We were all over the news. Deseret News’ headline: “Riot at General Conference.” MSNBC and others were more friendly: “Women Uprising at Mormon Worldwide Broadcast.”
I wonder what would have happened next if I’d stayed asleep? I want so deeply for us to be heard, for the church to apologize for its abuse but they gaslight and brush it off and ignore so much that I could imagine this being the only way we could actually confront them and make them say something in the moment. I’m so tired of being under the power of these men. I’m so tired of their manipulation and control and influence breaking people, breaking families. But I feel powerless. Maybe I have to just accept that.
There is a falsehood that some are born with an attraction to their own kind, with nothing they can do about it. They are just “that way” and can only yield to those desires. That is a malicious and destructive lie. While it is a convincing idea to some, it is of the devil. No one is locked into that kind of life. From our premortal life we were directed into a physical body. There is no mismatching of bodies and spirits. Boys are to become men –masculine, manly men –ultimately to become husbands and fathers. No one is predestined to a perverted use of these powers.
-Apostle Boyd K. Packer, “Message to Young Men,” General Conference 1976
There appears to be a consensus in the world that it (homosexuality) is natural, to one degree or another, for a percentage of the population. Therefore, we must accept it as all right. However, when you put a moral instrument on it, the needle immediately flips to the side labeled “wrong.” It may even register “dangerous.” If there has been heavy indulgence, it registers clear over to “spiritually destructive.”
The answer: It is not all right. It is wrong! It is not desirable; it is unnatural; it is abnormal; it is an affliction. When practiced, it is immoral. It is a transgression… Do not be misled by those who whisper that it is part of your nature and therefore right for you. That is false doctrine!
-Apostle Boyd K. Packer, 1978 BYU Fireside, “To the One”
Homosexuality is an ugly sin, repugnant to those who find no temptation in it, as well as to many past offenders who are seeking a way out of its clutches. It is embarrassing and unpleasant as a subject for discussion but because of its prevalence, the need to warn the uninitiated, and the desire to help those who may already be involved in it, it is discussed in this chapter.
-Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 78
Projection is a psychological defense mechanism proposed by Anna Freud, daughter of Sigmund Freud, in which an individual attributes unwanted thoughts, feelings and motives onto another person. Thoughts most commonly projected onto another are the ones that would cause guilt such as aggressive and sexual fantasies or thoughts.
Were some clergy who were most vocal in condemning homosexuality trying to cope with their own same-sex urges?