Thursday, January 21, 2016

Why was there no policy debate over the ten commandments -- a response to Elma Tanners attempt at the debunking of LDS leadership.

For those of us playing along at home -- reading criticisms of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through Internet channels -- let me say that there is nothing in the Bible about a “processing” or debate over the Ten Commandments.

I am just a guy, just a member of the church. While I don't speak for the church in any capacity, I do speak for a WHOLE TON of us, and I am responding to an article titled "LDS Church’s Stance on Gay Marriage Reveals How Out-of-Touch the Religion Is" by Emma Tanner.

Frankly, I do not believe that it was ever the Lord's will that his church be "in-touch" with human society. His is a much bigger picture, it seems to me.

To answer her question, Mosses didn’t gather his close friends to debate the necessity of such a basic and general-purpose law that had been literally written in stone. 

The pattern of apostles being set apart had not been established by Jesus Christ. Apostles were called of the Lord starting when the Savior lived on the earth and organized His church - to my understanding.

The church was restored after the apostasy -- after the leaders of the church that Jesus Christ established were killed off. There are prophets and apostles on the earth today. So when the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ meet to discuss the need for changes or reiterations or new policies, and they seek the direction of the head of the church (the Savior, Jesus Christ) they are following an established procedure that was instigated by the Savior himself.

The LDS church and its people (of whom I am one) are not blaming God’s will or throwing any blame on him for the recent reiteration of policy -- as the author suggests.

"So, to fight independent and reasonable questioning and gain control, the LDS Church has fallen back on traditional methods of instilling fear and binding members together as some sort of desperate army against a rational and evolving society" she says.

Again, no. The LDS church has never deviated from its stance that the prophets and apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ receive revelation to guide the Lords church. It is my understanding that God's will does not evolve to mirror human society. Neither the body of the church (I'm part of that) nor it's leaders have ever held a meeting to decide God's will. Rather, our leaders -- prophets called of God -- may discuss the pros and cons of an issue as humans with agency, and then go to the Lord in prayer for revelation and guidance.

President Russell M. Nelson recently stated that "...The reality is that there are servants of Satan embedded throughout society. So be very careful whose counsel you follow.”

That doesn't sound like the threat that Tanner suggests it was. That sounds like a warning to be careful in deciding who to follow, which sounds like prudent advise to me.

I share some of the goals the author mentioned, specifically:

  • A desire to think for myself, or "thinking independently"
  • "Developing personal morals intended to create a better world of love acceptance, good work, service for those around us — (not for God, and not for reward, but for the sake of being a good human being)" 
  • "Leaving the world better than it was when I arrived." 
I also believe that the prophets speak for the Savior and strive to follow his will. Whether those who have left the church choose to return or stay away, I will treat them with the love and respect that I would want for myself or for any of my friends or family. Regardless of popular policy and procedure or current understanding of His teachings, "love thy neighbor" is still the standard.

And we are not voting on that.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Biden sick of how Gays are treated

"LGBT people face violence, harassment, unequal treatment, mistreatment by cops, denial of health care, isolation -- always in the name of culture. I've had it up to here with culture. I really mean it," he said, striking the table with his palms. "Culture never justifies rank, raw, discrimination or violation of human rights. There is no cultural justification. None. None. None."

Speaking at an LGBT rights round table at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, vice president Joe Biden lamented that openly gay and transgender people are still treated like second class citizens around the world. Biden said that he has confronted at least four heads of state from countries where people face persecution over their sexuality. He didn't say which leaders he spoke to, but at least 75 countries represented in Davos outlaw homosexuality.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A positive experience -- The churches clarification of policy concerning gays (you know the one)

Yes, I have a bias and I seek to confirm it.* My bias is that the LDS church teaches people to be Christ-like to others, and that the policies of the church are to protect members; to provide the ordinances and information that will allow those who choose to be members the best chance to return to the presence of Heavenly Father.

As per many confirmation bias, I look for things to support my stance. There has been much representing the other viewpoints, and I have been looking out for more information. This experience was recently posted in Facebook. Yes, I understand the sketchy nature of faith promoting rumors, but this was proactive -- and it left me with another vantage point. Separate vantages have always proved necessary to pinpoint truth.

"I am a gay man with full custody of my children. I was invited to share the afternoon with my stake president and a general authority Seventy. After hearing the comments, positions, and beliefs of the GA, I would like to offer what little reassurance I can give to those affected by the recent policy on LGBT members and their children.

"Things were said in confidence and off the record that I am not able to share publicly at this time, however I will say that if what was said is representative of what is on the horizon, there will be a much brighter future for all of us affected.

"The comments he made were the most affirming, understanding, and compassionate things I've ever heard from a church authority in relation to LGBT issues. He was unequivocal in the disagreement of certain attitudes, actions, positions and teachings formerly perpetuated by other church leaders.

"When I expressed concerns about being on an apostate list and my kids being asked to disavow and not affiliate (per temple recommend question) he was able to calm my fears and anxiety and reassure me that this would not be asked or expected--even if I am living in a same sex partnership.

"He listened. He understood. He loves. He did not judge or condemn. He assured me that he was not alone amongst other leaders in his views and approach. 

"I realize that this is vague but he sincerely wants to maintain contact with me as things progress in my life and I don't want to betray his confidence. He asked for patience and hopes for change. He was clear that homosexual behavior is and would continue to be considered "sin" for the foreseeable future, but held out hope that changes in the way that LGBT individuals and families are dealt with is very possible.

"Knowing that I want to find a partner, he hugged me and invited me to return to activity in the church community if I ever felt inclined to do so. This was stated without any hint or suggestion that it would preclude my being single or celibate.

"I am in awe of the Christlike compassion I was shown."

So, what do you think? Could there be truth to this? 

*Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or mysidebias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.