Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Generally, Not Even Close to Murder

by Shawn Tucker:

If I were given the chance to influence one aspect of Mormon culture and scripture interpretation, one thing that would be at the top of my list would be the notion that sexual sin is “next to murder.” Generally, I believe that sexual sin is not even close to murder. But before I explain this idea, an idea I got from Michael R. Ash, let me say that sexual sins that are close to murder are the only sexual sins that are close to murder. The easiest example of this is Moroni 9:9-10, wherein the Nephites rape, torture, kill, and eat Lamanite women. Now that is sexual sin that is next to murder. Other sexual sins that are next to murder would be sins that irreparably damage souls, sins like incest, molestation, and rape.

When we are speaking with youth about sexual sin, in general it is not the above sins that we have in mind. While sexual sins like masturbation, fornication, and adultery are serious, sometimes very, very serious, I do not believe that they are anywhere near murder.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

That Great Day When There Will Be An End to Patriarchy

by Shawn Tucker:

Imagine if you woke up one morning and it had all rolled back. Your wife no longer had a job or even interest in having a job. She was at home patiently waiting for orders from you. Instead of having her own thoughts or plans or ideas, she lived only to serve and support you. All of which is to say that she was very, very dependent upon you. She did little or nothing without your explicit or at least tacit consent, down to the smallest activity. And imagine that your daughters, if they were not married already to men who ruled their lives, then now they are underpaid and disrespected nurses or elementary school teachers. You may have a daughter off at college but, by her own admission, she’s only there to get her “Mrs” degree. Your daughters, in fact all of your children, are as dependent upon you as your wife. They do little on their own without seeking first your approval. For every decision in the family, whether great or small, you must make it alone. You might talk to some other men about it or maybe look in the scriptures for some guidance—books written by men for men—but patriarchy demands that you make every decision and that every decision be flawless. This is the world where father must know what is best in every situation and all the time and for everyone involved. This is patriarchy, and it puts an impossible demand and weight on men while it robs women and other powerless people of participation and of a full voice in making decisions.

Monday, December 21, 2015

My 22 Point Opinion About Temple Sealings for Gay Couples

by Shawn Tucker:

A friend recently asked my opinion about temple sealings for gay couples. I don’t know why anyone cares about my opinion. I’m not proselyting my view; I’m merely stating my opinion in 22 bullet points.

1. People don't choose to be gay, to be only sexually attracted to people of their same sex.
2. No one, I believe, would make that choice, since it is so socially frowned upon and since it does not lend itself to the advantages (of which there are many!) of heterosexual marriage.
3. Since they don't choose it, and since it is really born in them, I believe the gay people I know when they say that they do not feel that their attraction is wrong or a sin.
4. Mormons typically think that such attraction is inherently wrong and against God's plan, while gay people, especially gay Mormons, do not believe that their attraction is wrong or sinful.
5. Mormons see heterosexual attraction as normal, natural, and even God-given.
6. I believe gay Mormons when they say that they believe that their homosexual attraction is normal, natural, and God-given for them.
7. Homosexual marriage seems to interrupt God's plan, since such couples cannot have children in the traditional manner.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Dear LDS Church: What Have You Done?

by Luke Warmer:

Dear LDS Church: What Have You Done?

Even for a church that believes homosexuality is a sin, this decision is a deeply heartbreaking head-scratcher. (See article of faith #2. The one that talks about their own sins and not Adam’s transgressions.)

If I were to guess, I would assume that this decision is born out of some fear of legal action from gay parents. And as church members we are left to wonder what it means when it appears that the church has compromised the spirit of the second of its Articles of Faith in order to be better positioned in a culture war against homosexuality.

I feel a deep concern for every gay child being brought up in the church.

For me, as a person with gay marriage on both sides of my family and three boys at home (ages 7, 4, and 1), I am left to debate whether I can attend a church in good conscience knowing full-well that the likelihood of at least one of my children being gay is much higher than average.

This is a heartbreaking day for families hoping for deeper empathy around the issue of the church’s stance on homosexuality.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Letter to a Muslim Youth Education Director: A Response to Jeremy Runnells

by Shawn Tucker:

Jeremy Runnells’ Letter to a CES Director has been a fairly popular topic for some time. People I respect, like Jacob and others have responded to it. I don’t know why you should care what I think, but apparently you are still reading, so here goes.

How Would You Read a Letter to a Muslim Youth Education Director?

So that’s my first question. If the same book were written about Islam or Buddhism or Catholicism or Presbyterianism, how would you read it? I can think of many different approaches, but personally I would never bother reading such a book. The point of the book seems to be to apply fun house mirror-like exaggerations to every flaw or thing that could be seen as a flaw. After this fun house mirror exaggerates lots of little flaws, the next step seems to be to convince you that all of those little flaws or seeming inconsistencies add up to something big. From what I can tell, next you are supposed to get the message that the church is untrustworthy. This untrustworthiness is supposed to seem so big, so absolute, and so “true” that you “must” abandon it. This untrustworthiness then becomes the lens through which you view everything in the chuch, and this cynical approach reinforces the untrustworthiness. Finally, in order to act with “integrity” and “in good conscience” to the cynical, exaggerated view you have adapted, you must end your participation.

What would you think of a book that did the same thing about any other religion? Again, I would never bother to read such a book. It would not tell me anything useful or good about those faith traditions. Instead, it seems like it would try to use different exaggerations to convince me that something evil is behind them and that they should be avoided if not fought against. To put it another way, such a book would not tell me what is virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy about any of those traditions.

Who Would Read Such a Book?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Suffragette: An LDS Perspective

by LJ:

This is me and Holly Washburn at a Suffragette screening. I'm holding up two Vs for Victory in a nod to Winston Churchill. It's not two peace signs, though peace is a good thing too.

I went with my friend Holly to see a screening of "Suffragette" about the women's rights movement in Britain in the late 19th century, and cried myself dehydrated.

Frankly, I was confused why this movie affected me so deeply. My life is embarrassingly good, compared to a washerwoman in 19th century London. My parents were middle-class, loving people with good education. My mother was (and still is) a powerhouse who taught me I could accomplish anything with enough hard work and elbow grease. I graduated from college. I married a man who brings home the bacon, then comes home to wrangle three kids, cook dinner (sometimes) and mop the floor (always) so I have time to write fiction.

But those tears, people. The tears. I am usually good at muscling them down when Hollywood throws an emotional potshot. But there's one scene where Carey Mulligan's character [SPOILER ALERT] finds out her estranged husband is adopting out their son to another family, and she has no say in the matter. I broke down into quiet sobs and Holly kindly slipped me the stack of napkins, originally intended for popcorn grease. I used all but two of them.

Monday, October 19, 2015

'Doubt,' 'Cult' and the Stigmatizing of Words

by Rob T:

When I finally told my parents that I had been investigating the LDS Church and taking lessons from the missionaries, it was agreed upon that I would talk about these matters with our Catholic priest.

I went to him and told him what I’d been learning. His first words in response about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were, “But they’re a sect, almost cultic!”

Let me first say that he is a good man, a kind priest, and a fair-minded leader. I hold no animosity toward him or my former faith - and disagreement with doctrine does not mean animosity, I think that’s important to this discussion.

But I do believe his response comes from a human tendency and a mindset that people can be scared away from something with one word. Certain words have been stigmatized to the point where they’re like Mr. Yuk stickers, and it’s all we need to hear to keep us away from something.

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