Category Archives: Uncategorized

A House of Sequential Order

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.

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Jesus Takes Initiative (and goes off script)

Matthew 15

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.

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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.

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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;

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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.

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– Tom Irvine

Fear Driven Theology

LDS Boy Scout Abuse Settlement

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.

Boy Scouts settlements reached with major insurer, Mormons

The Hartford Agrees to Pay $787M to Settle Boy Scouts Sexual Abuse Claims

Church of Jesus Christ will pay $250M into fund for Boy Scout sexual abuse claims

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Matthew 18:6

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.

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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?

See also: What is gained by cover-ups of sexual abuse?

– Tom Irvine

The Generational Curse of Harsh Rhetoric

Mountain Meadows Massacre Memorial

As I wrote previously, Elder Holland’s musket talk may be a modern version of Sidney Rigdon “Salt Sermon” from June 17, 1838. Rigdon’s sermon was a stern condemnation of Mormon dissenters.

“If the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted?
 
It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
Matthew 5:13

(See also Rigdon’s July 4th oration where he took a militant stance against Missourians).

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Lindsay Hansen Park came up with a better insight and wrote:

Did you know that from 1851 to 1881, capital punishment in Utah allowed for death by beheading? I found that in my research the other day, working on a Mountain Meadows Massacre timeline.

What a wild time early Utah was.

On this day 164 years ago (September 9, 1857), the Baker/Fancher/Dunlap emigrant party were hiding behind their wagons, chained in a half-circle against a hill, fighting off two days of attacks at the hands of my Mormon ancestors.
They’d soon start running out of water. Seven would die in the initial attacks.

Many of the Mormon men who participated in the murders, were traumatized themselves- though we would hardly, if ever, speak of their trauma and only talk about the good aspects of their character- as if our stories and reminiscences could wash the blood off.

In a few days from now, the 120 emigrants would all be butchered, save about 17 or so tiny children believed to be under the age of 8 (in Mormonism this is the age of accountability and massacre participants believed the children were young enough to not recall accurately the details of watching their families slaughtered).

The story is so ghastly, a true tragedy all around-and still haunts us to this day. The culture of violence, the militia spirit, the persecution complex- all of those things that led to such a horrific event, still linger.

I know the massacre is still such a sore point, but if we truly want to move beyond it, have some sort of reconciliation, we as a people, a culture, a faith, a state- need to do the work to move beyond and outside of the attitudes that allowed for this to happen in the first place.

Sadly, this year has shown us that the spirit of 1857 still exists in the hearts of our people with talks of muskets, persecution complex, government paranoia, us versus them, and on and on we go.

Today, the emigrant train, coming down the Spanish trail and looking for a better life, are on my mind. In trying to understand the conditions that allowed for this, historians repeatedly point to the fiery rhetoric used by church leaders, the political atmosphere and the persecution complex and unprocessed trauma and fear of the faithful.

Though some things have changed (thank goodness for change and progress!), some things have not changed and too many people want to keep it that way. That is a tragedy in and of itself.

(End Quote)

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“[Juanita Brooks] probably helped the church come to grips with something that all of us wish had never happened.”

Jeffrey R. Holland
LDS Apostle
Transcript from PBS “The Mormons”
March 4, 2006

Juanita Brooks wrote a book “The Mountain Meadows Massacre.” Elder Delbert L. Stapley sought to excommunicate Brooks for this book, but President David O. McKay denied the excommunication. Reference.

– Tom Irvine

The New Testament Church & Queers

Still thinking about harsh rhetoric in conservative Christian churches. The New Testament Church welcomed queers.

Jesus taught:

For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. (Matthew 9:12)

Excellent Article

Eunuchs are mentioned in 2 Kgs. 20:18;  Isa. 39:7;  56:4Jer. 38:7–13;  41:16;  Matt. 19:12Acts 8:27–38

– Tom Irvine

Millenarianism & Hope for a Kinder World

The increasingly wicked trajectory of the world is common theme in LDS general authority talks. In reality, society has improved in some ways and backtracked in others.

Here are some thoughtful observations from Lindsay Hansen Park:

One of the most frustrating things being surrounded daily by Millenarianism, is that you are completely enmeshed in a system of people who depend on the world getting worse to validate their religious ideas.

Too often, progress and advancements for women, POC, lgbt and other marginalized groups, becomes a threat. Things that make the world better and kinder for more people, have to be viewed as wicked- when in fact, they are liberating.

It’s gross and exhausting living around people who depend on a bleak outcome for their own spiritual liberation at the cost of liberation for living, breathing humans that exist in the now.

(End quote)

I share Lindsay’s hope for a kinder world.

– Tom Irvine

What about Bob? What about Gays?

Some mischievous humor…

Maybe our endearing LGBTQIA+ church friends are a bit like Bob. And maybe stern, uptight church leaders are rather like Dr. Marvin.

– Tom Irvine

SCMC Devotional, September 3, 2021

Kids Leaving Church

LGBTQIA+ souls are treated with more kindness and respect at my workplace than at my church.

– Tom Irvine

The Variety of Creation

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917-2008) taught:

Some are lost because they are different. They feel as though they don’t belong. Perhaps because they are different, they find themselves slipping away from the flock. They may look, act, think, and speak differently than those around them and that sometimes causes them to assume they don’t fit in. They conclude that they are not needed.

Tied to this misconception is the erroneous belief that all members of the Church should look, talk, and be alike. The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole. This variety of creation itself is a testament of how the Lord values all His children.

(End quote)

Talk Link

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I humbly suggest that LGBTQIA+ souls are part of the vibrant symphony.

See also: 15 Queer Composers You Should Know

– Tom Irvine