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General Conference Fall 2013 Open Thread

Please discuss your favorite quotes, stories, ideas, advice here.

Also remember our most popular article ever: Making General Conference Memorable!

Happy General Conference weekend everyone!

{ 47 comments… add one }

  • Alison Moore Smith October 5, 2013, 10:02 am

    The first thing I learned was in the show preceding GC on BYUtv. There is a show called History of the Saints, where the church is opening up all sorts of historical documents.

    I’m excited to go back and catch up with this. Good move.
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  • Alison Moore Smith October 5, 2013, 11:55 am

    Wow, Uchtdorf. His reputation of awesome talks continues. :)

    Love his statement about our assumptions that those who leave the church are “…offended, lazy, sinful. Sometimes it is not that simple.”

    I see this all the time and it’s unfair and hurtful.

    We respect those who honestly search for truth.

    As someone who has been attacked repeatedly for seeking answer and watched others more viciously attacked, I have not understood the animosity. Good advice here.

    God is perfect and his doctrine is pure. But he works through us, his imperfect children and imperfect people make mistakes.

    This is a rare admission — and I understand why — but it’s actually very freeing. When there are things that don’t make sense (particularly historically), we can leave open the possibility that the situation was a human mistake.

    For example, I have been troubled about polygamy my whole life and even more so the more I learned about early church history and the utter weirdness and chaos and deception and harm surrounding it. Since this has never really been addressed, but also been intentionally hidden, rather than continue to try to make sense of it, I can officially say that perhaps this was all (or in part) a big mistake with imperfect people trying to restore all things.

    I love the inclusiveness of his statements, too, about inviting those back who have left due to doubts (“there is room for you”) instead of the historical “weeding out” such as with the September 6, etc.

    Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.

    Perfect. I sincerely just loved this talk inside and out. Even without any aviation. ;)
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  • Alison Moore Smith October 5, 2013, 2:52 pm

    I didn’t realize Gifford Nielsen was one of the 70.

    I love BYU football — seriously, I’m been watching since Schiede was the quarterback — and I’m a a fan of Nielsen. But I’m not sure I can take another string of sports analogies in talks for years to come. Augh!
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  • Angie Gardner October 6, 2013, 5:21 am

    I have enjoyed conference so far. Elder Uchtdorf’s talk really spoke to me as well (along with all the Mormons in the world, based on the number of times I saw “Doubt your doubts before your doubt your faith” posted as someone’s status. I don’t blame them, it was a fantastic quote in a fantastic talk. ;/

    Elder Holland’s talk. Wow, just so glad to see someone address mental illness in this way. Usually when mental illness is brought up, Elder Packer’s quote is brought up (the study of doctrine will change behavior more than the study of behavior will change behavior). I do not discount the role that the gospel plays in mental healing, but it is not the whole picture. Thank you Elder Holland for giving us another viewpoint that just helped hundreds of thousands of us who have struggled with mental illness, depression, and suicide in ourselves and our families.

    There was one talk in particular that didn’t sit well with me. I need to re-watch it before saying anything though because it might just have been a mood. :)

  • jennycherie October 6, 2013, 9:56 am

    Ditto on President Uchtdorf’s talk! I can’t wait to re-read and study! Especially loved the bit he said about the church being for those who are imperfect and exhausted!

  • Alison Moore Smith October 6, 2013, 12:53 pm

    Yes, I saw a billion shout outs to Ucthdorf and Holland, too. What about today’s first session? I enjoyed it a great deal.

    I actually really loved President Bonnie Oscarson. As much as I love hearing/seeing female role models, I admit that often I’m a little put off by the women when they speak. Not always. I loved Sheri Dew. every. single. time. But often the women seem to take on the alrightee-now-let’s-put-on-our-thinking-caps voice and the talks seem to be either über simple and dumbed down or they just spend the majority of the time quoting authoritative men. (Because there are no authoritative women…)

    But President Oscarson — even though she did focus the talk toward youth (her stewardship) — didn’t talk down to her audience. She spoke clearly, gave personal examples, and made cogent points, all without trying to be cutesy with the canned jokes and pauses for polite laughter. It was just straight up good advice.

    I have often written and talked about my own history of wanting a testimony of things without taking action and I love that I know have a female voice to back up those ideas. :)

    I admit that being pointed to her Pinterest account just after she was called already won me over. But when I heard her speak I was so grateful that she can serve as a role model for my daughters.

    On Elder Richard Maynes I was back and forth (and back and forth again).

    First, “No! Not another sports analogy from another former collegiate athlete!”

    Next, “Hey! OK, I like the spiritual fitness/physical fitness analogy because I think it’s a very accessible one for my kids. FHE idea!”

    Then I thought, “Holy freaking moly, can we stop worshipping Joseph Maynes?!! Sure, he was faithful, but can I just say that, yea, it’d be about a billion times easier to go to England and proselyte than it would be to stay at home raising and supporting eight kids alone. Helloooooo???”

    Finally, “Well, sheesh, at least he mentioned Joseph’s wife in passing. ‘Yea, she did hard stuff, too.’ At least there’s that.”

    President Monson. You know, he had mighty big shoes to fill. I so adored President Hinckley and —more than any prophet in my lifetime — I just felt I’d found “my prophet.” I have missed him. But President Monson’s final talk today was so sweet. The way he spoke of his wife (who was generally firmly in the background) was lovely. And I loved his focus and words. (And, because of a line in a show I was just in, I loved the timber poem.)

    We’re having wassail and cheddar/potato/broccoli soup in bread bowls for lunch. Off to eat and then to the next session.

    Please come back to share your thoughts!
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  • Angie Gardner October 6, 2013, 2:04 pm

    You didn’t mention Elder Oaks. :)

    I really liked President Oscarson as well. Her content was great, delivery a little dry but that was probably nerves. I think she will be a great president for our YW.

    And now for afternoon session.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 7, 2013, 11:57 am

    What did you like about Oaks most, Angie?

    I always like him, but he used to do really intellectualish and legalish talks that were fun and challenging, kind of miss those.
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  • Angie Gardner October 7, 2013, 5:45 pm

    Okay, I admit I was kind of being a brat when I mentioned Elder Oaks. I liked much of his talk and didn’t like much of his talk. I found the whole conference that way. I’ve kind of been in a funk trying to figure it all out. This is what I have figured out so far:

    I felt such hope when I heard President Uchtdorf and Elder Holland. To be frank, in recent years I’ve struggled a lot with where I fit in. I loved having President Uchtdorf tell me that my talents were welcome in the church. I did ask myself “where” and “how” but I guess maybe I had a little hope that other talks in conference might expand on that a little bit.

    Instead, for me, that mostly shut down. There were great glimmers of truth and wisdom but after those 2 talks I felt like most everything was trying to put those of us who have had questions right back in our place. Elder Oaks talk was one of those for me.

    The thing is, I’m not sure I fit back into the space that was once there. :/ Putting me back in my place is going to be hard. I guess right now I’m trying to decide if there might really be somewhere for me where I can contribute as President Uchtdorf described or if it’s just not going to happen.

    An example: I consider myself to be a feminist in many ways. I do not align myself with the Ordain Women group, however. The way feminists were described in this conference made me really sad and rather upset. I did not recognize the “feminists” who believe we should be like men, do all the same things men do, who don’t think a woman choosing to be a homemaker is a valid choice. I can only speak for myself when I say that none of those things describe me or my feelings whatsoever. I love the feminine. I love the masculine. I love that there are strengths in each of those that make the whole better. I admire the women who can stay home and raise their families and enjoy it. I happen to be one who feels much more emotionally, mentally, and yes even like a better mom when I am working at least some. It balances me. I don’t think that makes me a bad mom just like I don’t think it makes a woman stupid because she chooses to stay home and raise children. I value women’s choices, whatever they may be.

    I am really discouraged about the state of women’s issues in the church right now. I don’t like the direction it’s going. To me, everyone seems to be digging in their heels and not listening to the other side.

    The continued reinforcement of the anti-gay marriage stance bothers me too. Not because I am pro-gay marriage, but because I have loved ones who struggle with this and I don’t think we could do more to say, “You are not welcome here” than we do by continually pounding the issue. Our church’s stance on gay marriage is very well known and very clearly laid out. I am not sure why we feel the need to continue beating a dead horse. You can either agree or disagree with the church’s stance, but the continued reinforcement just seems mean-spirited.

    I grant that I might be a little overly sensitive right now. My husband tells me I read things into it that were not there and I suppose he could be right and I need to go back and re-watch certain talks to see if I can take it with a bit of a more open mind and kinder spirit. :(

    I guess what I am saying in a nutshell is that I came to this conference with a very specific prayer in my heart (this is advice that was given to me and I have followed). That prayer was to know how someone with my views, questions, feelings, might fit in to the future of the church. Elder Uchtdorf gave me hope and then I feel like after that (with a few exceptions) it was just not only the status quo but reinforcing the very conservative and very rigid. Something doesn’t fit and I think it’s me.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 8, 2013, 6:40 pm

    My dear friend. Thank you for sharing so many of your thoughts. This comment would make a wonderful post all on its own, if you’d consider putting it there.

    There are so many things I’d like to discuss with you. But I just checked in to run an update and have to be somewhere in a few minutes! Just know you aren’t alone and you are loved. :)
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  • Tracy Keeney October 9, 2013, 2:26 pm

    Angie, I think the issue of gay-marriage is going to keep getting addressed as long as it keeps being an issue–especially among members. When members themselves keep saying they still don’t understand or agree with the church’s position, keep writing letters, keep trying to sway leadership, keep blogging about it and thereby keep drawing more attention to it– when non-members, journalists, news reporters, activist groups, etc keep hounding the church– when legislation that would try to force the church to accept it by punishing it for “discrimination” and “violation of civil rights” is being proposed– then I think it’s going to keep being addressed.
    It’s the same reason why so many of the talks mentioned women’s roles, why women don’t hold the priesthood– was it Quentin L. Cook who spoke so directly about that? I can’t remember. THAT’s a huge issue in the church– and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger the more women are talking about it all over on the internet, the more they try to “organize” themselves to push against the current policies, the more they make statements about their feelings on the issue and bring media attention to it, etc. People are ASKING the church– they want answers– they church has given answers– but people aren’t accepting the answers and keep asking the questions, writing the letters, etc. So they gave answers again, and I think they’ll probably keep addressing it as long as there keeps being questions.
    It’s kind of like the porn thing– you know what I mean? I mean, how many times do the men have to keep getting preached to about the ill effects of porn? They already KNOW. But I promise you, the church is getting letter after letter after letter from wives about how hurt and devastated they are about the states of their marriage because of their husbands’ addictions to porn. Understand, I’m not saying that people SHOULDN’T write letters about the questions or concerns– just that it’s the natural consequence that when an issue is causing such a stir among the saints, when it’s causing some division between them, it’s only natural that the leadership is going to feel moved to speak about it.
    I’m very glad that Elder Uchtdorf’s talk addressed the loving and Christlike way to handle differences of opinion and questioning. We needed that talk just as much, if not more than we needed the others.

  • Angie Gardner October 9, 2013, 6:19 pm

    Ugh…my response just disappeared and now I need to leave to pick up the kids at mutual. Quick response now and more later: Thank you to those who have commented here and those who have contacted me privately. I appreciate your love, friendship, and sisterhood.

  • Angie Gardner October 9, 2013, 7:07 pm

    Tracy – while I do see your point, I see a big difference between women’s equality, gay marriage, and people who struggle with porn. Viewing porn is a choice. Your gender and your sexual identity are an integral part of your very being. You can CHOOSE to get help for your porn viewing, but you can’t CHOOSE to change your gender or sexual identity (not easily, anyway).

    People have very real (and I would say valid) questions about how women might be more involved in the church (I will probably blog about this more soon so I’ll leave it there for now). They also may have looked into the eyes of their gay family member and listened to the hurt and ostracism they feel in the church that was their home and now has no place for them. These are hard things – things that I don’t necessarily have the answers for but I “get” that people want to ask questions about these things, and that they would like to have those questions answered without being told they shouldn’t question.

    Our very origins as a church started with a young boy asking a hard question, believing that he would get an answer. If he asked that question today, how might he be viewed in the church?

    I am a faithful member but I have questions too. I kind of feel like I was told at conference that if I’ve had questions in the past, that’s okay because there were some mistakes made and questions will happen – but then told okay, now stop having questions, because we are telling you that this is way it is. Kind of the question mark and period thing. I felt President Uchtdorf left room for the question mark and Elder Cook, Elder Christofferson, Elder Ochoa, Sister Stephens, and others basically said, “Nope. It’s a period. Sure, you can have questions, just make sure they aren’t about women’s equality or gay marriage. In those areas there is no room for questioning.”

    I just want to clarify – this does not mean I think that women should be ordained (necessarily, although I’m open to that idea if that’s what God reveals in the future) or that gay sealings should happen in the church. I do think we have miles and miles to go in ways that women can be more validated in the church and in their marriages. Miles. Without ordination.

    Again, the feminist that Elder Cook described looks NOTHING like any Mormon feminist I know. They do not want to be men. Most of them don’t even want the priesthood. They just want a voice and a greater presence.

    Similarly, the fact that we do not accept gay marriage does not mean that miraculously because they said it’s wrong that some Mormon boys and girls are not going to grow up and have this orientation. These Mormon boys and girls will love their faith and they will love their partner, but we will continue to tell them, “No place for you here – even if you are in a committed, monogamous relationship.” Some of these people will remain celibate and forever be seen as the weirdo at church. Others will kill themselves because they feel that God couldn’t have possibly messed them up this badly. More often, they will fall in love and enter a relationship (and more and more a legal marriage) and leave the church (and sometimes their family of origin) because we can’t find a place.

    Why does it have to be so black and white? Certainly God is capable of finding a way to preserve the integrity of the doctrine and the ordinances without telling people they are less than.

  • Tracy Keeney October 9, 2013, 10:03 pm

    well you have to understand, my point in bringing up porn had nothing to do with the actual issue of porn or how easy or hard it is to overcome it.. it was specifically about the frequency with which the issue is being brought up in conference addresses. it gets talked about so frequently because it’s such an issue and problem within the church. The issue of same gender relationships and marriage is going to keep getting talked about during coandnference as long as it continues to be an issue among members of the church.
    but on that subject….. you talk to anyone who’s addicted to porn, and they’re going to tell you they FEEL like they don’t have a choice. of course in the beginning it certainly was a choice and they still have the power to choose not to do it but they don’t FEEL that way at all. The more they acted on the temptation, they more they felt compelled ttto KEEP acting on the temptation until they become a slave to it. Though I don’t think it’s necessarily true in every case I think many times that’s the way it is for people with same sex attraction.
    In regard to questioning, when has anybody said that you shouldn’t question? I realize we’re not necessarily participating in the same conversations, but I haven’t heard anybody say that yet. and it was even acknowledged in conference that it’s okay and normal to question, like you said yourself.
    but yes some of the talks did come out and say in short, ” this is the way it is”. but no one said you couldn’t question or that there isn’t room for questions. but the questions aren’t going to change the way it is when we’re talking about doctrine and eternal truth. questions don’t changwe’lle truth.
    I think there’s a real flaw in this idea that I keep hearing ….”but the whole gospel was started because of a question”. that may be true but the gospel was always true. it just wasn’t here in its fullness and Joseph didn’t know about it yet. the truth didn’t CHANGE, it just wasn’t known.
    I remember several yearsbe ago an article Allison did about the difference between eternal truth and doctrine and church policy. What Elder Oaks said in conference about same sex breakage was a matter of doctrine, not merely policy. When it comes to women and the priesthood, hee only thing I know for sure, is that I’ve never heard anyone say we’ll never have it…in fact we already know that in some cases that certainly are given the power to use it.
    If the feminists that Elder Oaks spoke of don’t compare to you or some of the women you know, then maybe he wasn’t TALKING about you or those women. There certainly ARE women who will not be satisfied and will not rest until they can be ordained. Maybe THAT’S who he was talking to.
    A very sincere question…do you REALLY believe that if one of the”eternal, never changing truths” happens to be that homosexual relationships are sinful, that Heavenly Father ( or the Church) is telling then they are “less than”?

  • Angie Gardner October 10, 2013, 4:20 am

    Hi, I just have a moment while I wait for seminary kids. I do appreciate your thoughts, I just think I’ve had some experiences over the last few years, some very recently, that just cause me to feel that church leadership is not as loving as they could be to those who question.

    To answer your question about questioning :)…no, they aren’t going to lock you up for asking questions or even call you in to meet with your bishop or stake president in most cases. But what they will do is either ignore you, call you in and tell you they love you but you’re wrong, or a combination of the two and then chastise you in general conference.

    Do you know what happens if you write a letter? They refer you back to your local leaders. Local leaders then tell you they love you and the church leaders know best and you go back to your pew until you get restless again and start the process over.

    The viewpoint I’d love to see them take is that if so many have concerns about these issues, maybe there is something to it. Perhaps thousands of women (faithful women) telling them that they feel less than in the church means there is something that can be done to help rather than to pat us on the head, tell us how wonderful we are (the pedestal – ugh) and then tell us to stop trying to be men. Perhaps procedures and policies could be changed without changing eternal truths? Maybe there are ways (hundreds of ways, in my opinion) to include women and their input more in the church without giving them the priesthood.

    Gotta run, but as to your sincere question – I guess we will have to agree to disagree about eternal truths. Was blacks not having the priesthood once an eternal truth? According to Brigham Young and others, it was. Was polygamy an eternal truth? Apparently it once was (and still is??). Who decides what is eternal truth and what is just the way things have always been done? Do the scriptures say that only a priesthood holder can be the Sunday School president or ward clerk? Is that eternal truth? Is it eternal truth that homosexuality is sinful when the church’s view has changed from it being a choice to not being a choice but still something we reject?

    Don’t get me wrong – if the church leaders want to run things this way (or God is telling them to, up for debate I suppose) it is certainly within their “rights”. However, they shouldn’t be surprised when people finally just get tired and give up.

  • jennycherie October 10, 2013, 4:35 am

    “I felt such hope when I heard President Uchtdorf and Elder Holland. To be frank, in recent years I’ve struggled a lot with where I fit in”

    I have been serving in the Relief Society or more than three years, and in my opinion, this is the #1 concern I have for the women in our church. I have heard this is some form or fashion from 50% of the women in our ward. That is not a scientific figure, it is 100% made up from my impressions. ;) But seriously, I hear it from stay-at-home moms who feel isolated and from working moms who wish they were at home but can’t be. I hear it from married women and single women (who make up 2/3 of our ward RS), from young and old. I hear it from new converts (one who told me repeatedly, “I don’t fit in the box” of what she perceived church women should be) and lifetime members. And it is sincere. These are wonderful women with a variety of talents, who feel like they don’t fit in. Well, if SO many feel like they don’t have a place, or don’t fit in the box, maybe the box is a myth. Maybe they do fit it, but just can’t see it at the moment. I may be wrong, but I believe Satan is a strategic genius, and if he wants to attack, he couldn’t find a better place to attack than to go after the women of the church and whisper in their ears, “you don’t fit.” This idea is everywhere. It is pervasive, and I feel like it is our enemy. It isolates us, and sets us below and everyone else on a pedestal that they don’t even want to be on.

    Angie, what you describe on all the issues above, sounds like you are “agitating faithfully.” You have issues that you struggle with, but you will work on them. Maybe at this part of the process, some of those talks just weren’t meant for you right now. You may read them in a year or two and think, “Genius!” Or not.

    I actually love that you can say that you didn’t love all of conference. For me, that is real. And you aren’t the only person who felt that way. The talk about homosexuality was a tough one for me. There are so many people that I absolutely adore who struggle with this. And their identity is so tied up in their sexuality that they believe there is no choice. I don’t understand why the Lord gives this challenge to some people, but I need to hear the painful reality of where this fits into the plan of salvation from time to time. It is important not to sugar coat the truth. I can’t really imagine how practicing homosexuality will ever be compatible with our doctrine, but I think the constant struggle over it (and the way it is viewed in our society) makes it necessary to have that talk over and over.

  • Angie Gardner October 10, 2013, 12:21 pm

    Thanks for your kind words, Jennifer. I agree with you about the mysterious box. What is weird to me is that I don’t feel we do that to each other as much as we do it to ourselves! Why do we do this?

    Interesting you use that term agitating faithfully. For those who don’t know, this comes from an interview that President Hinckley gave when he was asked about women receiving the priesthood and his response was that LDS women are not agitating for that. Since that time, some feminists have used to term specifically with the ordination issue to show that they are indeed agitating.

    I suppose there are some things I am agitating for, although the priesthood is not one of them. I do agitate for change. I wish we’d hear more from women in the church (i.e. we usually hear from 2 women every general conference and at least 25 men). I wish there were more callings that were accessible to women and not under a priesthood umbrella, as they do not involve priesthood keys. I wish women had more autonomy in the organizations they lead. I wish female leaders had more of a counseling role with the women and young women in their wards. I wish there were more women represented on ward councils and that not only would the RS president be “occasionally invited” to PEC but that she is a permanent member. These are some of the things that I wish for women in the church.

    I do understand that a lot of women don’t feel they are “held back”. I can only say to that that we each have our own experiences that shape us, and that I haven’t come to this belief through my own experiences on my mission, in my callings, and in my marriage. I won’t go into a whole lot more detail than that right now but in essence I’m a normal LDS woman who just sees so many easy ways in which things could get better for us. I don’t think women would necessarily want the priesthood (I don’t know since this isn’t something I seek for personally) if they felt that they could be a part of decision making and leadership in the church without it.

    The gay issue. Sigh. It just makes me sad. :( I don’t know the answer but I just feel in my gut that if Christ were here among us he would handle this all very differently.

    In my generation, this scenario was not uncommon: A young man has homosexual urges and confesses those to a church leader. He is counseled to get married and those urges will go away (thankfully they usually do not counsel in this manner anymore, but it was very common among my peers). They serve missions, marry in the temple, serve in the church, and then in their “mid-life” crisis fall in love with a man or at least confess to their wives that they were never sexually attracted to them.

    Six children, an ugly divorce, and an excommunication later, they are very hateful towards the church for this advice they were given as youth. They regret the hurt this has caused their former wives and their children. They wonder how they were so worthy as to serve in bishoprics and stake presidencies with secret homosexual urges but as soon as they “come out” they are evil (some considered so to the point that the church actually has helped the wife to try to keep the children away from their fathers.)

    If this had happened to only one person I know I could explain it. It’s happened to at least 4 that I can think of.

    Thankfully, that advice is not given anymore. Now, the stance is that in most cases homosexuality is not chosen, but if this is something you struggle with we are sorry but you just need to never act on it. Enjoy a celibate life and God will work it all out in the next life. What will become of these people? They will either remain celibate (and, um, very lonely) as counseled and stay active in the church (which I would love to see a man who has done this and has been fully accepted by his fellow members and allowed to serve in any calling any other worthy heterosexual man could), they will kill themselves (sorry if that sounds blunt but I know at least 3 young men who have done this very thing), or they will realize where they aren’t wanted and find a community that accepts them.

    I really think there are enough brains and hearts in the church to find a way. I think Christ would find a way. We talk about loving everyone and everyone being children of God but then we tell them they aren’t welcome.

  • Angie Gardner October 10, 2013, 12:23 pm

    Please excuse my typos (like when I said I haven’t come to my opinions when I meant to say I have :) )

    Busy mom. Busy day. Not enough to turn on the brain.

  • jennycherie October 10, 2013, 5:32 pm

    more thoughts! When you mention the experiences you have had with leaders and with the way questions are answered (or not), it reminds me of a discussion group I was in several months ago. The church sent a researcher to our area, and he asked to meet with the female auxiliary leaders in our stake, a group of single women, and . . . . probably some others that I don’t remember. So, in a group of women (all who are currently serving as RS president, YW president or Primary president) who live in the same metropolitan area, we had WILDLY different experiences in dealing with male leaders. In my ward, which is about 3/5 low income & urban and 2/5 affluent&suburban, our problems are mostly about getting enough people to do the work, strengthening and reactivating the members we have, and trying to increase our membership. I have never felt that I did not have a voice in our ward council. In fact, at times, I think the men need to speak up a little more and not be so passive.

    There were sisters from other wards (that were 100% suburban and affluent) that had no problems with activityor being overwhelmed with chronic neediness due to mental illness or physical disability (another big problem in our ward) and most of their members were very strong and faithful in the gospel. They didn’t have trouble finding people to do the work, but they did have trouble finding enough rooms to hold their primary classes because they have so many active kids! However, they had a completely differet experience in ward council and PEC than I have ever had. They often did feel that they couldn’t speak up in meetings or that they would not be taken seriously. I was truly flabbergasted, and these were not overly sensitive, whiney woman at all. They were awesome, and they had a good attitude in dealing with it. But they also felt like all they could do was just live with it.

    One other thing occurred to me this afternoon. The church seems to lag a bit behind the world in most trends, like modesty, racial equality, etc. If that is the case, then things WILL improve with the gender issues. Keep in mind, our society still STINKS at gender equality. We can’t even have a female candidate in a major political campaign without wasting 100s of pages and hours of airtime discussing her appearance! So, in some respects, I think that the church’s difficulty in having true equality (in the ways that Angie mentioned – things that can be done that don’t have to do with ordaining women) resembles our society as a whole.

    “the mysterious box. What is weird to me is that I don’t feel we do that to each other as much as we do it to ourselves! Why do we do this?”

    AMEN! I completely agree, and I wish I knew the answer.

    “The gay issue. Sigh. It just makes me sad. :( I don’t know the answer but I just feel in my gut that if Christ were here among us he would handle this all very differently. ”

    I expect there are many issues that we will look back on, and think “why was this handled this way?” I think the same thing when I read church history. Some of it is so remarkable and other parts are just so puzzling. This is another way where I think we are still battling some parts of our culture. I don’t think that homosexuals should be demonized the way they so often are. The last time a brother at church spoke to me about the need to keep the homosexuals away from the Boy Scouts, so the boys won’t be in danger of being molested, I didn’t even begin to know how to respond. And yet, the most vocal advocates for homosexuality often are guilty of simultaneously promoting promiscuity and a host of other related problems, which creates a vicious cycle.

  • jennycherie October 10, 2013, 5:59 pm

    ok, I really have to stop this and finish editing the test I am giving on Monday – but just a couple more thoughts!

    “I think the issue of gay-marriage is going to keep getting addressed as long as it keeps being an issue–especially among members. ”

    I definitely agree. I really appreciated the talk (was it the very first?) that spoke of the process of preparing a conference talk. I didn’t realize they were expected to prepare for months in advance and that they had to come up with the topic on their own. Knowing this, then that definitely means the topics will reflect current events and attitudes.

    “It’s kind of like the porn thing– you know what I mean? I mean, how many times do the men have to keep getting preached to about the ill effects of porn? They already KNOW. ”
    So true! We had a bishop’s lesson recently (and he taught it to each auxiliary one at a time, though maybe not primary :)) on pornography. I was surprised that he felt so strongly that he went to each auxiliary separately to teach. Women rarely get that message! I was also surprised at how merciful his approach was.

    “A very sincere question…do you REALLY believe that if one of the”eternal, never changing truths” happens to be that homosexual relationships are sinful, that Heavenly Father ( or the Church) is telling then they are “less than”?”

    I think that is a great question Tracy! I don’t know if I have any kind of answer! For me, it is hard to see how the doctrine of eternal families will ever allow for practicing homosexuality in a righteous way. I would love it if it would, but I can’t figure out how it would make sense. I tend to look on homosexuality as a type of birth abnormality (except in those cases where it is clearly a choice and not related to orientation). Father sent us to earth with our own set of challenges. Our world tells those who struggling with homosexual desires that they were born that way and to deny that is to deny themselves. For most of us, there is a remarkable amount of our identity that is tied up in our sexuality, whether we realize it or not. This is true of heterosexuals as well as homosexuals. But, why would Father send anyone to earth with such a challenge? Well, why did he send my son to earth with a cleft lip and palate? Why did he send other children to earth with spina bifida or Down’s syndrome or Muscular Dystrophy?

    “I give unto men weakness that they may be humble. .. then I will make weak things become strong unto them,” (badly quoted from somewhere in Ether)

    Homosexuality is a tremendous challenge that I can’t fathom fighting daily, but I think the purpose of having that challenge is to overcome it. That is the only answer that makes any sense to me. We have weaknesses, weirdnesses, birth defects, hot tempers and a whole host of other things so we can turn to Father for strength and solutions. What has gone awry in our world is that our society has traditionally vilified homosexuals in such vile and offensive ways that many now have “heterosexual guilt” and so have gone to the extreme of promoting and encouraging and gushing over homosexuality in order to distance themselves from the terrible ways that people have traditionally been treated when they come out of the closet.

  • Angie Gardner October 10, 2013, 6:09 pm

    That discussion group sounds fascinating, and as a sociology major (okay, so it was almost…gulp…20 years ago) I really find the class dynamics interesting.

    I do think experiences with male leadership vary greatly. I have seen this in presidencies I’ve served in and especially on my mission. I think most of the time there is nothing domineering or priesthood-abusing about it, but just that not all men have experience working with women closely. Besides their wife, many men are called to church leadership without EVER closely working with another woman and learning how to communicate effectively with a woman. I have had leaders who have been so inspired and who really tried so hard to do everything they could to empower women, and others who just seemed clueless. At times, it has made me want to scream as I knew I could do just fine if just left to my presidency to handle things, but that’s not the way things are set up. I know we are all here to learn and grow and work it out, and it usually does. Except when it doesn’t and people leave. I am saddened by that because I know several who have left because they just feel like they won’t be heard and it’s not worth it to try anymore. It could be better – I really believe that. And I also completely agree about women still not being equal in society and the church lagging behind even that. It’s getting better, and in some ways the church actually empowers women MORE than society does as a whole. But in other, really important, ways…we don’t have a seat at the table. And even when we do, we are so outnumbered that it’s overwhelming.

    Thank you for your comments on the gay issue. I agree. I think it’s similar to many other issues – the most vocal are also the most “on the fringe” so to speak. And yet there are many gay families who are just quietly living their lives, raising children, serving in their communities and churches. They are just like us in most ways – in fact some of them did used to be very much like us including their belief system.

  • Angie Gardner October 10, 2013, 6:32 pm

    This is an interesting video and article about an active Mormon family with a gay son that has been making it’s way around Facebook. I am not sure what an assistant bishop is, though? :) I am guessing a counselor in the bishopric.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/08/gay-mormons-wendy-montgomery-_n_4064834.html

  • Alison Moore Smith October 10, 2013, 7:46 pm

    Tracy:

    In regard to questioning, when has anybody said that you shouldn’t question?

    The reason I wrote “A Christlike response to Radical Mormon Feminism” was precisely because I see, over and over and over, people vilified, called unfaithful, told they have no testimonies, told they should just leave the church, and on and on — BECAUSE they ask questions and want clarifications on things that make no sense to them.

    I addressed it today. And yesterday. And it comes up almost EVERY time I EVER participate in a gender discussion.

    I’ve thought for a year or so I should just start collecting the vile comments that come from the self-proclaimed “faithful.” Maybe I’ll actually start now.

    Angie:

    I just think I’ve had some experiences over the last few years, some very recently, that just cause me to feel that church leadership is not as loving as they could be to those who question.

    Church culture is fascinating to me. It’s just straight up true that if you want to play the “climb the church ladder game” — and I’m not suggesting the majority of the über faithful do this, just that I know many who do — it’s pretty simple — and, frankly, not markedly different from any other institution, in spite of inspiration..

    1. Attend regularly.
    2. Accept callings offered.
    3. Complete assignments, going the extra mile.
    4. Be dependable.
    5. Be loyal.
    6. Be friendly.
    7. Be helpful.
    8. Defer to authority.

    In the case of women, #8 is of particular importance. You can give me pushback on that if you want, but I’ve seen too much for you to convince me otherwise. Part of the woman’s role in the church is still to be subordinate.

    Now that’s not an exclusively church thing, it’s a culture thing. Although, thankfully, in much of our culture it’s going by the wayside and/or being discredited, the church culture moves much more slowly than general culture in most things of that sort.

    When I was a student at BYU, I had a class from the über popular (and sometimes controversial) George Pace. It was around 1984 and it was a marriage and family class. One day of each semester he brought his wife in to give the lecture in that class.

    She told us that when her husband made a mistake — and she KNEW it was a mistake — she didn’t tell him so. As the priesthood leader, she let him make the decisions and then, later, when he found out he was wrong, she still didn’t say anything. She just let him figure it out for himself. Because, being so super righteous and all, he would certainly be inspired as to his own stupidity.

    This was presented as the appropriate way for a wife to behave. I nearly lost my lunch on my looseleaf.

    Have you not read the Feminine Mystique? Have you not heard all the past wifely advice about how to, basically, manipulate your husband by sneaking around so that he’ll think he made the decision you tricked him into making? Because actually talking to your husband and working things out as equals was inappropriate and unfeminine. And men have egos that can’t handle adult conversations with women.

    If you’re as old as I am, you remember the temple endowment being significantly more sexist (in a female subservient model) than it is today.

    This is just the way it was and still is in many ways.

    Do you know what happens if you write a letter? They refer you back to your local leaders. Local leaders then tell you they love you and the church leaders know best and you go back to your pew until you get restless again and start the process over.

    True. And policy.

    The viewpoint I’d love to see them take is that if so many have concerns about these issues, maybe there is something to it. Perhaps thousands of women (faithful women) telling them that they feel less than in the church means there is something that can be done to help rather than to pat us on the head, tell us how wonderful we are (the pedestal – ugh) and then tell us to stop trying to be men. Perhaps procedures and policies could be changed without changing eternal truths? Maybe there are ways (hundreds of ways, in my opinion) to include women and their input more in the church without giving them the priesthood.

    Angie, if I could make that into vinyl letters and mod podge it to a distressed board, I would wrap it up and send it to headquarters.

    Good heavens, I’m crying. Why does it have to be so hard to get through? Why isn’t what you wrote just freaking OBVIOUS????
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…I Do Not Believe in Royalty – Apologies to the Duchess of CambridgeMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith October 10, 2013, 10:18 pm

    Oh, and in case you didn’t see this:

    Mormon apostle edits ‘feminist thinkers’ from sermon
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…7 Christmas Advent CalendarsMy Profile

  • ExMoHoMoDon October 11, 2013, 1:08 am

    As a gay man who left Mormonism a long time ago, I am not certain that I am on the ‘fringe’ even though I am quite vocal. I have a pretty conventional life, a good career, 3 children and one perfect grandchild.

    Although I might find things to be disagree over, mostly I found your post and the comments really interesting–I like the dynamic when Mormon women discuss things. It seems less judgmental, more thoughtful and sensitive than when Mormon men discuss issues.

    In any case–for me personally–I left and have no illusions about being welcome in Mormonism–would never go back nor subject my children to it. Thanks for the thoughtful conversation.

  • jennycherie October 11, 2013, 5:38 am

    Angie – that was a really interesting video. It surprises me that they are so quick to jump on the bandwagon when he is 13! He is too young to date and certainly to young to be contemplating sex. Many teenagers are not even interested in the opposite sex at this age. Is it possible that he had such a stern view of the church’s stance on homosexuality and worried that he wasn’t looking at young women and thinking “hubba hubba” and so he interpreted that as being gay? I know adolescence is a big time for a lot of confusing feelings. Even though I know the desires are inborn for many, I think it is also created and encouraged for others. Also, I am flabbergasted that they would tell people when he is 13! Whose business is it? Is he planning to start having sex right away just because he is homosexual? Of course not! He is *clearly* a good kid. Why does ANYone other than his mom and dad need to be a part of this struggle? Honestly, why would his bishop even need to know?

    I read an article not long ago about a six year old boy whose parents were fighting for him to use the girls restroom because he was transgender and identified as a girl. 6 years old! It infuriated me. I have this image that the boy said he liked pink one day, and he wanted to play with a Barbie doll, and so his parents overreacted and made it into a big deal when it wasn’t a big deal.

    That being said, I applaud the parents for making clear that they love there son and will figure it out. I can understand why they want the church to say homosexuality is not a sin, but I don’t see it happening. Desires and temptations are not a sin, but acting on them is. When so much of our doctrine is tied up in procreation and separate roles for men and women, I just don’t see that changing. And I don’t think we should ever tell our children (on any issue) that they don’t need to change a thing. We love them no matter what, but ALL of us need to change and improve ourselves.

  • Angie Gardner October 11, 2013, 2:11 pm

    Welcome Don and thanks for your comments! (Your name cracks me up.)

    Jenny, I am a little baffled at this as well at this boy’s age, but I am very glad to see that he is loved and hopefully will not become another one of the suicide statistics. He is finding love and support where many others find rejection, so I have to give kudos to his parents there.

    I do think it’s possibly to have and recognize homosexual feelings at a very young age, just I think it’s possible to have heterosexual feelings. I remember being attracted to boys as young as 4th grade. In 4th grade the attraction is not about sex, but still it is there as an attraction. I had girl friends, but I never thought about them in same way that I thought about boys.

    I remember the object of my crush in 4th grade. He was my mom’s best friend’s son and every girl in class liked him. We spent a lot of time together because our parents were friends. He kissed me behind the shed and I STILL remember how exciting that was! hehe! He also played kissing tag with all the girls but when he’d kiss me he’d tell me I was his favorite (he probably said this to all the girls!) So, yes, I think you can definitely have attractions and start to figure out who you like, what you like, etc. when you are young. I did, anyway.

    My daughter is 14 and the “likes” are definitely in full gear. It didn’t hit her until about a year ago, but now she has a guy she likes a lot and I think they are both counting down the days until they can go on a date. Pray for me. :) But seriously, I do think you know very young what you are interested in your relationships.

    I realize that a lot of this is born from his mom reading his journal – so it is something that was obviously on his mind and that he was struggling with at that age – so it certainly was an issue FOR HIM. That doesn’t mean it needs to be public. I too am a little baffled by that and I’d love to hear more about it from his mom. I didn’t watch the full interview but maybe someday I will and it will be explained.

    I can definitely see this “news” the parents got when reading the journal (hey, that’s a topic for another day – reading our childrens’ journals!) softening the parent’s stance on the subject and letting their son know that they love him and are there to help him navigate it. Being so vocal, I don’t know. Probably not the way I’d handle it (more than anything because I would think it would be embarrassing for my child to have his sexuality – homo or hetero – broadcast throughout the world.) Can you imagine me granting an interview to say, “Hey, my daughter is now 14 and she LOVES BOYS!” She would kill me.

    But, this isn’t my family so maybe that’s what works for them.

    Within the last year I read a book that helped me to understand a bit more the process that occurs as someone realizes they have homosexual feelings. I found it to be a very honest account and appreciated reading it. If anyone is interested, it is called Perfect and it’s written by Joseph Dallin.

  • ExMoHoMoDon October 11, 2013, 2:26 pm

    Thanks Angie. I will make sure that my participation here accords with my best manners because as I said, the conversation here is so different–I’ll save the bare knuckle stuff for dealing with men. I’m sure that most people know this, but homosexuality in men is not about not liking women. I like women–in fact, I like them better than men. This is at least in part from having 6 amazing sisters and an incredibly strong Mother. Not to draw too fine a point on some of these issues, but I knew when I was 4 that I was different–wasn’t sure what it meant, but I knew. True story–I started out using ExMoDon, but ExMoHoMoDon came as a taunt from (a man) participating in an online conversation at the height of Prop 8 fireworks. Used it ever since.

  • jennycherie October 12, 2013, 5:46 am

    “I left and have no illusions about being welcome in Mormonism–would never go back nor subject my children to it. ”

    Don, it’s great to have your perspective. Do you mind my asking, is it just the church culture that has you separated from the church? What I mean is, how do you feel about the parts of the doctrine that have nothing to do with homosexuality? I read a blog once from a man who was struggling so much because he had a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but felt he could not live a celibate lifestyle (or a heterosexual one) and so he felt his only option was to leave the church.

    Also, I’d really love hear more about how you felt different at four, if you don’t mind. My brother is gay and it never occurred to me to ask him how early he felt that way. He didn’t begin to tell anyone until he was an adult. He didn’t have serious girlfriends in high school, but that didn’t seem strange to me. He was so attractive to the girls that I just figured he didn’t have an interest (other than friendship) in them partly because they were all fawning all over him (from a little sister’s perspective.) This issue was a difficult one for me in investigating the church. I knew it would be harder for my parents to accept my religious conversion because of the church’s teachings on homosexuality. It is still hard for them, but they did not cut me off or anything crazy like that. It’s just very hard for them to understand and it tends to lead to lots of little misunderstandings.

    “He is finding love and support where many others find rejection, so I have to give kudos to his parents there.”
    Absolutely.

    “too am a little baffled by that and I’d love to hear more about it from his mom. I didn’t watch the full interview but maybe someday I will and it will be explained.”
    Yeah, I also wondered if the part that would make it make sense was edited out for the short version.

  • ExMoHoMoDon October 12, 2013, 12:36 pm

    I guess I have become an equal opportunity religion denier. I simply don’t believe that any religion is much more than made made nonsense. While many people are able to glean hope and a desire to be better from religion, I feel that mostly it leads to separation, division and violence–I think the historical record speaks for itself. Because our Founders realized the importance of individual exercise of free conscience, they carved out some pretty important guidelines for the protection of religious exercise–but realized that the mix of government and religion was damaging to both. I respect the right of others to believe Mormonism or anything else–but not to seek to impose it upon me by civil law. Mormons are free by virtue of persuasion and excellence of example to convince me or anyone that their religion is true–my experience with it has taught me otherwise. As far as doctrinal issues–to most of it I am content to say I just don’t know. I do think that the idea that ANY human being is able to represent God is ludicrous–just don’t buy that.

    I’m not sure what I knew from my earliest recollection, but a sense and knowledge of being different–of course that didn’t manifest itself in sexual/emotional urges until I was a teenager. I didn’t have overtly more feminine interests–couldn’t do sports which I hated–not to be confused with now when I am obsessed with baseball–or is it mostly just the players? This doesn’t add up to much of a definitive answer I think.

  • jennycherie October 13, 2013, 6:28 am

    ” I didn’t have overtly more feminine interests”
    Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I think that people often expect effeminate behavior or interests. It doesn’t seem to be particularly true, in my experience. I do think it is just something else that we look for as a way to make sense of things.

  • Tracy Keeney October 13, 2013, 10:35 pm

    I just always go back to a friend, Lee, who’d lived a gay lifestyle her entire adult life. When she met the missionaries and took the discussions, everything changed for her– except for her homosexuality. It didn’t miraculously go away. She just stopped acting on it. She went to the temple, became endowed and was as fully participating in the gospel as one can be.
    She and I had several very long, very frank discussions. When I asked her how she reconciled her homosexuality with the gospel and what kept her so fully active, she said “Because I know it’s true” and described that she felt very much like Joseph Smith did– that when she had that confirmation from the Spirit that the church was true, she couldn’t deny it because she knew that God knew that she knew it was true, and she wasn’t going to try and pretend she didn’t. She said she didn’t know why she was gay– she couldn’t turn it off– she couldn’t “make” herself be attracted to a man, but she’d rather be faithful to what she knew was true, even if it meant being celibate, than be unfaithful.
    She felt welcome, never felt judged or less than. In fact, all the criticism and “your not welcome here” feelings came from her previous friends and associates. While the ward was completely aware of her homosexuality and was very loving and supportive of her, only 2 of her gay friends didn’t completely abandon her.
    I’m sure some people would say, “Well, the only reason the church members welcomed her was because she wasn’t living a gay lifestyle anymore.” First– they wouldn’t know if she WAS. Just because she was showing up every Sunday, doesn’t mean the ward knew what was happening behind closed doors–particularly since the 2 gay friends who didn’t dump her were also both previous lovers.
    Second, it also wouldn’t account for the fact that the ward was welcoming and loving to the HIV positive sister who would occasionally show up REEKING of alcohol.
    I’m very aware that there will always be those who are nasty in the judgments and who DO make people feel unwelcome. But the CHURCH is always welcoming. It welcomes everyone– gay, straight, drunk, sober, drug addict, clean, HIV positive and perfectly healthy. Just because the Church calls certain behaviors “sinful” doesn’t mean it doesn’t welcome the sinnER. The straight, sober, clean and perfectly healthy are sinners too. And that doesn’t account for the couple who are secretly “swinging”. Or the people who are hiding the fact that they’re getting off to porn every night. Or the person who’s molesting their kid, or abusing their spouse.
    They probably don’t feel “welcome” in church either– especially if their secret is out and particularly when the subjects of fidelity in marriage, pornography or sexual or physical abuse come up in meetings. But the Church can’t “change” doctrine or stop preaching it, just to make people feel better.
    Just tonight, Elder Ballard was in town to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the dedication of the Liberty Jail. He was talking about the “Hastening of the work” and asked us why. “WHY is the Lord hastening the work?” I honestly thought he was going to start talking about the 2nd Coming- that it was getting closer and the Lord was hastening the work to “gather the elect”. Nope. You know what he said? “The Lord is hastening HIS work, because Lucifer is hastening his. From the very beginning of the Creation of the earth, Heavenly Father had a plan. Jesus Christ created the earth, Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden and they were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. Marriage between a man and a woman is central to Heavenly Father’s plan, and the most fundamental doctrine, the sanctity of marriage, is under attack. When Lucifer is hastening his work to destroy one of the most fundamental doctrines, the Lord has to hasten His.” He talked a little more– talked about how common cohabitation is, how so many children are born out of wedlock. He talked about how the fight to preserve marriage between a man and a woman is going to be state by state. Then he started talking about his role as an apostle, about the quorum of the 12, and he said, quite adamantly, “We don’t sit in meetings and counsel to determine what the doctrine is! We don’t sit and argue or debate over what’s true. The doctrine is set. The Iron Rod is anchored. It doesn’t move.”

  • ExMoHoMoDon October 14, 2013, 12:57 am

    Thankfully your friend Lee is able to decide for herself, as am I, their own religious and spiritual choices, and those choices are protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. My concern is for the other part of what is promised by the Constitution, that is the 14th amendment promise of equal protection under the law referring of course to civil law. While I am never quite sure what is meant by ‘a homosexual lifestyle’ (strangely one never hears the term ‘a heterosexual lifestyle’, I can say that most of the gay people I know are concerned with having our intimate relationships protected by equal legal status, including the rights of our children–these include hospital visitation, insurance and tax issues for us and our children and other fairly mundane but vitally important issues–knowing that those relationships and their attendant legal recognition don’t end at the state line because a state where I have business doesn’t recognize same sex marriages. Included in my ‘homosexual lifestyle’ is watching my son (I have 3) make slow progress over issues no child should have to deal with after he was abused from age 2 by his meth addicted parents. This and other highlights would be a simple phone message from my partner asking me how my class went–a ballet class (in which he has ZERO interest), but which he knows is really important to me. While you extol how welcoming the Mormon Church is to everyone, going on at some length about how equal legal status of homosexual families is ‘hastening the work of Lucifer’ just doesn’t make me feel welcome. Saying that I am just as welcome as someone who is molesting their children or abusing a spouse doesn’t cut it either–especially since I don’t see you seeking to limit the legal rights of people like my son’s meth addicted parents who sexually and physically abused him–just mine. I would also suggest that when you make such comparisons, most people in increasingly large numbers simply don’t appreciate being compared to agents of Satan because they view their gay neighbors and their families as acceptable members of society. In that regard, you are doing our work for us, as positive impressions of Mormons even in a live and let live place like California continue to plummet and support for equal protection under the law for homosexual citizens continues to increase. In that number I would include my brothers’ and sisters’ mostly adult children, all raised in the Mormon Church, who simply don’t see why their gay friends and especially me should be treated unequally and especially when they and I are compared to agents of Satan. A significant number of them have left the Church. In any case, you continue to do our work for us–your post isn’t helping your cause much, from my point of view. Your post has at least for me, confirmed why I left in the first place.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 14, 2013, 9:40 am

    I appreciate the respectful discussion here folks.

    I have corporate taxes due tomorrow — yes, it’s been that kind of year — so I can’t post much until after then. But appreciate what I’ve been reading from all sides.

    I’ve known Don for a while on T&S and elsewhere. Glad to have you here. Hope you’ll stay around. I have a post I’ve been trying to write for a couple of years about homosexuality and the church. It started after I wrote “Can God Proscribe Behavior,” but I never got further because it’s a topic that’s not very politically correct and so I have to be more…hmmmm…careful in how I approach it. And I have so little patience for being careful! ;)

    Anyway, thanks for your continued comments, all. Back to taxes. I hate the government. Mostly.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Singing At the Top of One’s Lungs In the Car With the Windows Down?My Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith October 14, 2013, 9:44 am

    P.S. An exact phrase match search for “heterosexual lifestyle” gives 26,700 results on google. :)
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Not Guilty By Reason of InsanityMy Profile

  • Angie Gardner October 14, 2013, 10:20 am

    “I hate the government. Mostly.” :)

    Okay, so as to Tracy’s friend Lee.

    I only have a minute as well but a couple of quick thoughts.
    1. I think Lee’s experience might have been much different if she were male. Not sure why this is, but gay women in the church seem to be able to hide it much more easily than gay men. Probably something to do with the menace to society thing.
    2. I think there is a difference between welcoming and accepting. I think that most of the church members I know certainly do welcome everyone – at least as far as shaking their hands, giving them a welcome, sitting by them, visiting and home teaching them, and even becoming their friend. We are ALL sinners. We do, however, ACCEPT certain things (and I would say certain people) differently as far being a fully involved member. Again, I think this is more true of the men, but a celibate gay man is most likely not going to have a calling that has anything to do with children or youth, or any kind of priesthood responsibility. The fact that the gay ward clerk (or whatever his calling is) made news tells us that this just isn’t very common. The fact also that your ward knows who is gay and who has HIV or is an alcoholic also tells me that we do still see people with these issues as DIFFERENT from us. Not that different is bad, but if we fully accepted them we wouldn’t know the details of their intimate lives and whether they were gay or straight, celibate or not, swinging, adulterous, drunkards, or other variations of very personal struggles. So I do think that they will be welcome (I’ve never seen ANYONE kicked out of church, ever) and even loved, but as for being fully accepted and participating I personally haven’t ever seen that happen, especially with gay men – even celibate gay men.

    Thank you for sharing Lee’s story, Tracy.

  • Angie Gardner October 14, 2013, 10:22 am

    P.S. When can we start talking about women again? I want this to be about ME. :)

  • jennycherie October 15, 2013, 9:47 am

    “I just always go back to a friend, Lee,”

    Thanks for mentioning her Tracy! She was a great woman and such a good example of enduring to the end, and handling trials with faith. I feel like that was one instance where we really were able to pull together as a ward (For those how don’t know, Tracy and I used to be in the same ward) and, with her best friends, be the family for someone who didn’t have family. It was a beautiful experience for everyone involved.

    “They probably don’t feel “welcome” in church either– especially if their secret is out ….”
    I think our insecurities often make us suspicious and make us feel unwelcome. When we are insecure about something, we often think it is super obvious to others and many times it just isn’t. We had a family move into our ward from Mexico a few years back. They were delightful. I was shocked when they moved out within a couple of months to go back to Mexico because everyone was so racist against Mexicans. After talking to them, I realized it was simply a misunderstanding. Their English was limited and their manners were very different from the manners of our area of the city–where people are often brusk, short tempered and are very quick to yell at absolute strangers. The rude behavior shocked them so much, they took it to mean people acted that way towards Mexicans, when really, people were acting rude to Everyone.

    There is one man at church who recently cornered me to give me his opinions on a variety of subjects, especially including the Boy Scout policies regarding homosexual men. I hope to goodness no one EVER listens to him or uses him as a measure of what our church believes or how our members feel. I was so offended, I couldn’t even figure out where to start. And who else has he shared that with?

    “While you extol how welcoming the Mormon Church is to everyone, going on at some length about how equal legal status of homosexual families is ‘hastening the work of Lucifer’ just doesn’t make me feel welcome.”

    I think this is where the topic gets really murky. The doctrine of the church is doctrine. For those of us who are active members who believe the doctrine, this is dictated by God. These are His rules, not ours. People can agree or disagree with any religion, but this is why it is important to those who embrace the doctrine of our church.

    “I don’t see you seeking to limit the legal rights of people like my son’s meth addicted parents who sexually and physically abused him–just mine.”
    Don, I totally understand why this is a hot button for you, but to be fair, meth addicted abusive parents already have their legal rights limited. Most likely, their parental rights have been or will be terminated. If we followed Satan’s plan, they would also be sterilized so they could not continue to procreate and birth children that they will then abuse, but that isn’t the plan for this world. I can totally see the benefit, but it’s not the plan.

    “they and I are compared to agents of Satan”
    I’m trying to find this in Tracy’s post, and I just can’t. She did summarize the words of an apostle, who spoke of the hastening and urgency of missionary work as a response to the Lucifer hastening his work, but she did not compare anyone to agents of Satan.

    “gay women in the church seem to be able to hide it much more easily than gay men” & ” Again, I think this is more true of the men, but a celibate gay man is most likely not going to have a calling that has anything to do with children or youth, or any kind of priesthood responsibility.”

    You know, I wonder about this. Would anybody really know if you didn’t tell anyone? I think it tends to come out because people feel that being silent is denying who they are, but if they say nothing, does anyone truly know? I know of several women who keep themselves away from church because they think everyone will know about their issues, whatever they are, and it is just not true. When I have served in leadership callings, I am often approached by people who want my advice or comfort, and they come to me assuming that I know their issue already. I don’t!
    jennycherie recently posted…Fear 101My Profile

  • ExMoHoMoDon October 15, 2013, 12:17 pm

    While I have plenty to say on gay marriage/gay people welcome in ‘the Church’, I would prefer to defer to Angie and drop it until Allison chooses to bring it up. I honestly feel like there aren’t enough spaces where women can discuss their issues without them being sidetracked by men–I don’t want to contribute to that. Thanks–I will still read with interest.

  • Angie Gardner October 15, 2013, 7:07 pm

    Don, I was totally joking about getting back to the women topic. :) It’s just that since I’m not gay but I am a woman, I just find more to say about that. But I do care about gay issues and I am enjoying this thoughtful discussion so please continue.

    Jenny, I think you are right – people DON’T know what goes on behind closed doors – but we make assumptions. I think we often assume a woman who has never married just never had the opportunity, while we often jump to “he’s gay” for men who haven’t. I really don’t know the true numbers.

  • ExMoHoMoDon October 15, 2013, 10:35 pm

    Angie I thought your comment was tongue in cheek and I appreciate your kindness, but I am serious–I need to stick to leaving this space for women’s issues for now. I am interested in how you all will sort all of this out. Besides–gay people are winning–not as urgent as it was before. :-)

  • Cameron November 5, 2013, 12:25 pm

    Angie, I’m not sure your Joseph Smith asking tough questions analogy is the best analogy to this conference. The authoritative Kingdom of God wasn’t on the Earth when Joesph was asking question. A good conference analogy would be more akin to someone listening to Jesus, Peter, James, and John speak against a particular sin and then somehow doing mental gymnastics to convince themselves they weren’t against it.

  • Alison Moore Smith November 5, 2013, 2:11 pm

    Or, I don’t know Cameron, how about Elder Holland — long before he was “Elder” Holland — asking why blacks couldn’t have the priesthood. But please, go ahead and castigate Elder Holland like you did Angie. I’m waiting.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…A Christlike Response to Radical Mormon FeminismMy Profile

  • Angie Gardner November 5, 2013, 3:54 pm

    I’m not really talking about excusing sin. I’m talking about having questions. Elder Uchtdorf told me it’s okay so I’m good. :)

  • ExMoHoMoDon November 5, 2013, 4:01 pm

    Love your answer Angie.

  • Dominic A. Riley November 16, 2013, 1:03 pm

    We live in the 21st century, but if we’re honest we have to admit that in some ways the church is still in the Dark Ages–especially when we look at the way we treat women. Even though the Scriptures never portray women as secondary to men, our male-dominated religious system still promotes a warped view of female inferiority. Women are tired of this, and as a man, so am I–because such demeaning attitudes don’t reflect God’s heart. Jesus challenged gender prejudice at its core when He directed so much of His ministry toward women. In a Middle Eastern culture that considered women mere property, He healed women, discipled them and commissioned them to minister. Yet today we spend much of our energy denying them opportunities–and using the Bible to defend our prohibitions. I’ve identified 10 erroneous views about women that for too long have been circulated in the church, preached from pulpits and written in the study notes of popular Bible translations. I believe we must debunk these lies if we want to see the church fully released to fulfill the Great Commission. LIE #1. GOD’S ULTIMATE PLAN FOR WOMEN IS THAT THEY SERVE THEIR HUSBANDS.
    Dominic A. Riley recently posted…No last blog posts to return.My Profile

  • Patrick Clark December 30, 2013, 8:25 pm

    Remember that this is my answer and each woman you speak with will have different experiences. I love my church leaders and have faith in this gospel. Not all gender inequality in the church is tied to the priesthood and I think that 90% of it is unintended and, thus, it is important for us at LDS WAVE to makes our voices heard. You may find this list overwhelming and wonder why anyone who feels this way would stay a member of the church. Remember that I am deeply committed to the church and am trying to align my faith as a Latter-Day Saint with my deeply rooted spiritual sense of equality. Sadly, this paradox often causes me and many women that I know great pain and frustration.
    Patrick Clark recently posted…No last blog posts to return.My Profile

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