I am an active but very nuanced member of the LDS Church in the Seattle area. I went to the Saturday morning cleaning assignment at our ward building this morning. I talked with two very faithful brothers at the end. They were outraged that the trash in the outside dumpster is piling up. The trash removal company is no longer providing service because…. they have not been paid since last October! Apparently, the LDS Church has some company in Atlanta, GA that is supposed to pay the trash collection bill.
The tithing that my wife and I pay would more than cover the trash removal fee. What is going on?
Is this how the LDS Church drums up investment funds for Ensign Peak using the interest on float / pending payments?
The Church teaches its members to be honest and financially self-reliant. I assume this means that members should pay their bills on time. Why does the Church exempt itself from this counsel?
– Tom Irvine
Have well-intentioned but misguided LDS Church members and leaders formed a cult around the gospel of Jesus Christ? Teaching for doctrine the commandments of men? Do we ever speak of getting our “muskets” out to defend the Church against its heretics?
– Tom Irvine
Brad Wilcox is a “man of his time” who has echoed themes from past and current hardline LDS leaders. The difference is that we have changed. We have become more tolerant of diversity and less accepting of bigotry, sexism, etc. We are holding our leaders accountable in ways that we never have before. Wilcox’s talk and the resulting outcry may well be an historical turning point.
I currently work at a private company owned by a very well-known, secular individual. The yearly “diversity” training at this company is far more Christlike than the “musket” fire rhetoric coming from the Brethren.
If only the First Presidency would make an official apology for past racism and the priesthood ban… Even the Southern Baptist Convention has formally apologized for its past racism.
– Tom Irvine
Post from Lindsay Hansen Park
A lot has already been said about the (now infamous) Brad Wilcox fireside talk. Mostly about his egregious remarks defending the priesthood/temple ban, his disgusting sexism and more. I feel like that talk contains all the worst parts of my childhood church.
I’m still struck by the fear and anger in his voice. The intensity and urgency behind how he talked about apostasy and doubt. It was binary. This splitting, black and white thinking: The church is either the most true church or completely false. You stay or you leave. You don’t question god, and if you do, walk away from everything.
Whenever I hear such reasoning, I’m reminded that logic like this is a result of a traumatized brain. Unprocessed trauma leads the brain to be unable to see other choices, nuance and options.
The most generosity I can give Brother Wilcox (although I don’t think he deserves it after spewing such hatred to youth, especially in a position of authority), is that he’s clearly spent a lifetime traumatized by his own faith. It’s so obvious in his logic and reasoning that he confuses fear with love. He’s adopted a theology of pain, passed down from generations of Mormon trauma that accepts that God asks cruel things and it is us who has to call cruelty like that, love.
One of the biggest tragedies in Mormonism for me (mostly because I live in its wake) is all the unprocessed generations of trauma that has been codified as theology. It’s unnecessary and dangerous. If you look at the history, it’s the same- our leaders take their unprocessed trauma and preach it over the pulpit as God’s love.
Patrick Mason, the Leonard J. Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University, wondered if Wilcox was trying to protect the legacy of Brigham Young, who instituted the ban on Black men holding the priesthood.
“When he’s talking about the race-based priesthood temple ban he clearly does not want to impugn the motives or even actions of Brigham Young,” said Mason. “For him that’s a dangerous road. It erodes the foundations of faith in the Church’s leadership, both then and now.”
See also: Elder Holland’s Salt Sermon
February 20, 2022 Fireside
I have been working with a spiritual healer, psychic medium lady. I am healing from some generational trauma related to being bullied by work managers and church leaders.
Here is a brief excerpt from my session from the recording she made.
“He (Jesus) says that you have been searching for the truth for you whole life. But He says there are many truths. It is a matter of perspective. You get to decide which truth that you wish to live by, what your truths are.”
Amazingly, a similar thought has been on my mind for the last year or so. The Lord gave me an impression that there can be more than one right answer. For example, if someone is having a conflict with another person, then each could be “right” within his or her own respective sphere.
These thoughts may seem to be at odds with LDS doctrine. But there is actually a scriptural basis.
Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’aretz.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth. Genesis 1:1 Hebrew
And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine. Moses 1:37
And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth. Abraham 4:1
So if there are many heavens, then there must be many truths. 🙂
– Tom Irvine
Leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have a tendency to teach and enforce doctrines and policies in a very stern and serious manner. As an example, President Marion G. Romney (1897 – 1988) gave the following story about his father’s counsel prior to Marion’s departure for his mission:
When you are released and return, we shall be glad to greet you and welcome you back into the family circle. But remember this, my son: we would rather come to this station and take your body off the train in a casket than to have you come home unclean, having lost your virtue.
(end quote) Reference
President Romney’s father was “dead serious.”
Additional examples are given in: Fear & Reconciliation
But people who have had near death experiences relate that passing through the veil is like awakening from a dream to a greater reality. The love and light in heaven are so great that these souls experience instantaneous healing from their mortal traumas. They also learn that love and kindness toward oneself and others is paramount and that most issues that we fret so much about in mortality simply do not matter in heaven. Perhaps like Martha in the New Testament we are too obsessed with household duties while missing out on our fleeting lives’ most important opportunities.
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream
How then do I know but that the dead repent of having previously clung to life?
How do I know that the love of life is not a delusion? That the dislike of death is not like a young person losing his way and not knowing that he is going home?
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players…
We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream; it may be so the moment after death.
And it came to pass that I, Jacob, began to be old; and the record of this people being kept on the other plates of Nephi, wherefore, I conclude this record, declaring that I have written according to the best of my knowledge, by saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream…
See also: Deepak Chopra, MD, Is Life Really a Dream?
– Tom Irvine
By Brittney Hartley
It is an unwed refugee mother who carries Jesus. The workers in the field see the angels. The animals bear witness. The overcrowded neighborhood receives God. A woman is the only who anoints him. A woman is the first to witness his resurrection. He is not baptized from the institution, but from a wild man in a loincloth. He flips tables in a way that people would call irreverent. When the most vulnerable cannot reach him, holes are cut in roofs to make way. He challenged a new kind of love, love that goes beyond your mother and father and tribe. Love that extends beyond tribalism, beyond nationality, beyond our silly little exclusive clubs and rituals where we alone claim to be gods most favorite.
These are likely just stories by now. Stories so compelling they became legend. Perhaps they passed on from generation to generation because there was more something interesting going on than mere historical accuracy. All good stories have a bit of legend. And this story tells us that life isn’t found at the heads of institutional hierarchies, or our vain attempts at lying, or with our wealth, or our social masks we wear. Life is found in humility, in honesty, in truth, in the desert, on the edges, and in surprising places.
I don’t do Santa with my children, or teach them that they were born broken. But we do celebrate what Jesus was all about. When they asked Jesus when the kingdom of god was coming was he said the kingdom of heaven is here. It’s now. It’s this. It’s life and it’s life more abundantly. It’s setting your ego aside and finding an easy yoke in its place. These past few years I’ve met and cried and counseled with those who find themselves on some margin. Some wilderness. Some edge. Maybe it’s those who are LGBTQ. Or women claiming their voice for the first time. Or people who have left organized religion and are painfully rebuilding their spiritual home brick by brick. Or someone putting up a boundary with their family for whatever reason. Or someone trying to navigate their faith within their community but wanting to make room for more authenticity and expression.
Many call this place the outskirts. The dangerous. The radical. The disobedient. The lost sheep. But the scriptures call this place the wilderness. And it’s where God was always found. In the closet of your heart, the dark place where you don’t want anyone to see. It’s from that honest place that life and light (or whatever word you choose that to be) can be found.
Elder Vaiangina Sikahema gave a talk in the October 2021 General Conference on “A House of Sequential Order.”
Order indeed has its place as long as we do transform it into rigid dogma or weaponize it such that we deny mercy to suffering souls.
Order is as justice, and justice must be tempered with mercy.
Jesus Takes Initiative (and goes off script)
21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25 Then came she and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me.
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
* * *
A common explanation of this story was that Jesus was putting the woman to a test. Be that as it may, there are additional layers of meaning to this story. The key is verse 24. Jesus “was sent” by his father.
To bless the woman’s daughter, Jesus effectively broke a rule given by his father. But Jesus did not sin. Rather he followed a higher law of his own free choice.
* * *
Doctrine & Covenants 58
26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
* * *
The story also shows that we are not held to unquestioning obedience in all situations. We can reason with the Lord and plead for mercy in special cases, especially when we are praying for a loved-one.
* * *
Perhaps we should not become too attached to sequential order for other reasons. Some people who have experienced near-death experiences report that time as we know it does not exist on the “other side of the veil.” Rather past, present & future co-exist simultaneously.
Now whether there is more than one time appointed for men to rise it mattereth not; for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not; all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men. Alma 40:8
– Tom Irvine
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will pay $250 million to compensate the thousands of abuse survivors who were abused in Mormon Boy Scout troops by its Scout leaders.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Will the settlement be paid using tithing donations?
How much is the Kirton-McConkie law firm being paid to represent the LDS Church in these proceedings?
Do the settlement terms require victims to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)?
Is this one of those settlements where the LDS Church denies any wrongdoing, and is only settling for some sort of expediency?
Do any past or present Church leaders bear any Command Responsibility for the abuse whether or not they knew it was occurring?
– Tom Irvine