Guest Episodes

POST: Across the Parking Lot

parking lot

Across the Parking Lot

Submitted by a Listener

It’s a question that many parents have heard or may be hearing soon: “Do I have to take Seminary?”  This questions means so much more these days. In my home, with my daughter, it’s not about boredom.  It’s not about opening up space in a high school schedule. This question is about something much deeper.

At an assembly at school today, I shook hands with our seminary teacher who had come in to watch with his class. In my role as an educator at a variety of secondary Utah schools, I have made an effort to befriend these upstanding men who happen to reside across the parking lot. I’ve always been impressed with their dedication to their faith. I respect them. Lately, however, my respect for the building across the parking lot has waned. It started, in fact, with a realization that the two buildings, the school and the seminary building, are currently teaching very different values to the students that enter.

In many of our Utah schools, we are blessed with an exciting amount of diversity among our students. I am grateful for this characteristic of our schools. I would argue that our schools contain more diversity than virtually any other institution around, reflecting a true cross section of society at large. Within a school building one might find the affluent, the poor, the motivated, the unmotivated, the athletic, the musical, the teacher’s pets, the wall flowers, the college-bound and the soon-to-be drop outs. In addition to this variety come other challenges: impoverished families, homelessness, single parent homes, special needs, non-English speakers and gay students. It’s upon the latter that I would like to focus my attention in my comparison between school and seminary.

We have been given the challenge of teaching math, English, science, and many other important subjects in our schools. Along with these academic areas, we also teach values like acceptance and love. We teach kindness and respect. We teach not only the need for, but the power and beauty of diversity. We value the need for different voices and opinions. We help our students practice inclusion and avoid isolation in every way. We celebrate being a family within the school, a family of different faces, cultures, experiences, opinions.

But, the bell rings and some of these students who have learned the value of this inclusiveness leave our building and walk across the parking lot. They enter a building that is run by an institution that doesn’t quite share this same accepting attitude. Instead, this short trek across the parking lot plunges our students into a world of binary, correlated thought, where the value of diversity is replaced by a form of quasi-elitism. We’ve heard it all before, Wheat and Tares, Tree of Life vs. the Great and Spacious Building, In the Boat or Out of the Boat.  Slowly, the values of love and acceptance are subtly replaced with footnotes, disclaimers, and thinly-veiled platitudes…“loving the sinner, but hating the sin.” Instead of celebrating diversity, these students learn an institutional brand of tolerance. They learn that it is indeed okay to not treat some groups as equals.

These seminary teachers, it is not them. In talking to them, they know and seem to care about each of their students. The concern, this dogma of inequality, of nonacceptance, of exclusion. It comes from a level of the Church largely unfamiliar with our students. From polygamy, to blacks and the Priesthood, to women’s rights and civil rights, to same-sex marriage, major social issues…the LDS Church in its policies and doctrines has lagged behind the hard-fought social progress of our country. With the November policy and Elder Nelson’s recent remarks classifying the policy as revelation, my heart as an active Latter-Day Saint has been fractured. And I am not alone. When one considers the growing body of biological research behind homosexuality, as well as the policy’s potential victimization of innocent children, many are left questioning the Christianity, the humanity, of the Church’s message. This dissonance is magnified among our millennials. On January 10, 2016, Elder Nelson gave his own definition of millennials, as those who are, “morally courageous” and …a chosen generation, fore-ordained by God to do a remarkable work…As someone who works with these kids daily, I would caution that some of the best qualities of our millennial generation go directly against what the Church values.

Millennial characteristics relate to individualism, to thinking, to learning, to arguing, to doubting, to exploring…to accepting and valuing the differences of others. Elder Nelson and many of those in upper Church leadership, although inspired spiritual leaders, come from a generation whose life experiences are far removed from the experiences and realities of the millennials today. A generation that while accomplishing many feats, marginalized blacks, limited women, and scoffed at gays for the evil choices they made. For all of the good that I have seen in the Church in my lifetime, we’ve come too far to be limited by this antiquated, unequal view of one another in our modern, diverse, progressing society.

Across the parking lot one is to be proud to be peculiar…but the peculiarity we are observing now relates to bigotry. It’s based on fear. Its roots are exclusion. Its core is control. Our millennials are receiving a mixed message. Many, however, are uncomfortable in the ways of the old, and are moving with a growing, inspired passion toward this new way of thinking: the same way that is taught, that is emphasized, that is celebrated, that is modeled each day in our Utah schools.

“Do I have to take seminary?” It’s a question that has been asked and disregarded for decades. This question today, however, is much different, much deeper. It comes from a “morally courageous” generation and it carries more weight than it ever has. It is from one millennial, a true millennial, my daughter, standing at the school doors, looking across the parking lot, and saying, “Something over there just doesn’t feel right to me.”

53 thoughts on “POST: Across the Parking Lot

  1. A peculiar people we mormons are. Coming from a “mission field” outside utah it is interesting to see utahns describe the conflict they have between their faith and the world at large. Our religion is African and Asian in its origin and even though we have a genealogy of european descent it must not be forgotten that gentile ways are not the lords ways.

    In the “mission field” living the gospel as taught by the living prophets is the only rest from the storm available.

    Have faith and know that the blessings from heaven will come if you are faithful to your covenants.

  2. Instead of trying to change the church’s standard to your moral values. I would try to understand Gods perspective given by revelation by prophets and apostles.

    If you want to help people who have homosexual attraction tell them to live or be willing to live within Gods standard of chastity.

    • you seemed to have posted the same comment twice. I would suggest only posting a comment once going forward. I would welcome a discussion anytime where you help me and others better understand your certainty of the mind and will of God. I welcome a dialogue but you will need to listen as much as you speak.

  3. Remember when God’s revelation to prophets and apostles involved blacks not having the priesthood? Yeah, so that didn’t go so well for the Church until people began to put their biased feeling aside and led with the love of Christ. There would have been many members that had similar negative feelings toward those that pushed for social change in the Church as was seen in the greater society. It was social pressure that helped the older, biased brethren reevaluate their own feelings and recognize them as not being of Christ. I give them credit for being honest with themselves and steering the Church in a more loving, tolerant path. See the gospel topics essay on blacks and the Priesthood if you have heartburn about this. Who is to say that Church leadership doesn’t have a deja vu moment in the future on the issue of homosexuality. We are all learning that it is less of a choice and is more biological in nature. If I have to choose, I will side on tolerance and love. I believe the Christ that I know would also be there.

  4. If you look through the old testament and new testament you do see some consistency with having bans. For example at one time only the tribe of Lehi could hold the priesthood other tribes and gentiles did not hold the priesthood. When Christ was on the earth he did not go to the gentiles but only to the Jews. There was also mosaic dietary ban on food such as pig and shellfish.

    As far as I know Christ did not explain why he did not preach to gentiles. Peter after Christ resurrection received a revelation that they could preach to all the world to include gentiles and the mosaic food laws were also lifted.

    To say the priesthood ban was a mistake is controversial in my opinion. Blacks at the time of the ban were slaves and if not slaves were severely discriminated against. How does one magnify their priesthood calling or serve others if you are a slave discriminated against or not seen as equal.

    Apostles and prophets have given their opinion as to why there was a ban but nothing was official. From what I read there was not a revelation ever given to ban blacks from the priesthood. The only thing official was a revelation to allow any worthy males to receive the priesthood.

    At the time the priesthood ban was lifted society was shifting its laws and views of discrimination. Africans were asking the church to establish in areas not previously allowed.
    African Americans were joining the church despite the priesthood ban.

    You may see the church being pressured into lifting the ban. I see it as the right time to lift ban to allow blacks to rightly serve and magnify their calling as equals.

  5. George, I respect your opinion as presumably a white man. Put yourself into the shoes of a black man a hundred years ago. It’s the early 1900’s. Slavery’s been abolished for decades. Let’s say you are a member of the Church. Now read the comments you just wrote about how you believe the revelation came at the “right time.” Here’s the reality…as an early 1900 black man, it will not be until your grandchildren or great-grandchildren that anyone in your family could even bless the sacrament, let alone be sealed as a family. I believe a modern prophet, sorry, I believe 15 prophets and apostles and then times that by at least 10 presidencies simply got this one wrong. These were men that allowed their personal feelings about blacks and/or false teachings about the seed of Cain and the pre-existence get in the way of real revelation from heavenly parents that love all of their children the same. Even President Kimball admitted to struggling with feelings of racism as he went to God in prayer and fasting. I think sometimes we are too eager to support those in power even when they have made mistakes of man.

  6. Ldog

    I certainly respect your opinion too but I totally disagree. The priesthood ban being lifted was a revelation. As to why God lifted the ban, only God knows why. Same as why the gentile ban was lifted. If you were born a white roman male before Peters revelation you would have been banned from the priesthood. During old testament times if you were born from the tribe of Manasseh or Ephraim you again would have been banned from holding the priesthood.

    If I was a black male man I would have had a hard time as to why I could not hold the priesthood. But I think I could have come to terms of the situation I was in and still partake of the blessings that were offered at the time.

    It seems to me that the priesthood ban which started during the old testament was not completely lifted until 1978. This is Doctrine by George (my speculation) but maybe that is why a revelation was never given during the 19th century for a priesthood ban it could have been in place during old and new testament times.

    • So George, why didn’t Joseph Smith support a priesthood ban on blacks?

      • That is an excellent question. Maybe Brigham Young was to be responsible for continuing the priesthood ban.

        If you look at modern prophets from the past Joseph Smith is known for the restoration. Brigham Young is known for the Mormon exodus and in this case for instituting or/ continuing the priesthood ban. President Hinckley is known as the temple building prophet for building smaller temples greatly increasing the number of temples worldwide.

        Why was this not instituted 50 years ago? Thousands of members went with out temple blessings until President Hinckley became prophet and instituted the building of smaller temples.

        I imagine THE TIME WAS RIGHT for smaller temples to dot countries of the world especially those in small lds populations.

  7. I believe, just as Joseph Smith demonstrated, that blacks should have always had access to receiving the priesthood. As with Adam God, new “doctrine” was created by Brigham Young, who was a very racist person. Other prophets followed his lead, especially as blacks had quite s low status in this country. Dominoes fell, one presidency to the next. All misdirected by false doctrine mixed with their own biases.

    • My personal opinion that it was Brigham Young responsibility to continue or institute the priesthood ban.

      I have questions for you though.

      Was Christ bigoted for not teaching gentiles?

      How come only the tribe of Levi could hold the priesthood?

      Why did Moses hate pigs and shellfish?

  8. This comment is for Bill.

    If you continue to tell people to question this most recent revelation given in November as not being from God but personal bias. You are going to held accountable by those people you have influenced. For your sake I hope you change your views or know more than the first presidency and the quorum of the twelve.

    • Dude, George…you come onto Bill’s site and threaten him? What’s up with that? If Bill is anything like me, he has probably felt the Spirit regarding the policy…and the Spirit has not given him one good feeling about this policy. Maybe, eventually, it will be those that created the policy and those that support the policy that will need to be held accountable…

      • I would rather be held accountable following Prophets and apostles than following Mr. Reel.

        Mr. Reel in my opinion should seek to get his own answer but stop questioning the first presidency and the quorum of the twelve.

        If he feels that God has made it known to him that this revelation is false he should make it known. Otherwise he has no leg to stand on its only his personal moral values and ideas that he is basing his opinions on. Why would his personal opinions be of more value than a revelation by God given to his Apostles and Prophet.

        • And I would rather be held accountable for following the Spirit and being on the side of acceptance and love, than on the side of hatred and bias and intolerance and insensitivity and bigotry. If there’s a judgement bar, I’m feeling as though the Christ that I know is going to reward those who supported the characteristics he demonstrated while he was here. I will continue to support His cause and love my fellow man and woman, without judgement of skin color or sexual preference. Many prominent men in the Church have struggled with this, as evidenced by the blacks and the priesthood gospel topic essay. I think we’ve entered yet another chapter of regret as a church. By the way, is FairMormon starting to get so boring that you are trolling other sites now, Mr. George? You are apparently not a typical Mormon Discussions follower.

          • Do you think Mr. Reel feels as you do that the brethren are hateful, bias, intolerant, insensitive, and bigoted?

          • I think it is fair to acknowledge that leaders in the past were
            1.) prideful and thought they knew God’s mind on playing cards, circuses, and other things God has never spoke on (Elder McConkie and his book Mormon Doctrine)
            2.) That leaders suffer from deep prejudices (President kimball and other say as much and Brigham certain said really hateful things)
            3.) that leaders think they know God’s mind and will when they feel something only to have later leaders disavow such “inspiration”

            Do I think they are evil? no but I do think at times they are arrogant and prideful, deeply prejudiced based on the era they grew up in, and easy to mistake their false ideas as God’s will

          • I don’t know. I’ll let Bill answer that himself. Have you listened to his podcasts? I think he questions the policy, and has stated that he doesn’t feel right about it. I think he’s generally supported the 15. I think he’s trying to understand it still. I think I’m farther down the road than he is, however. I tend to feel that these men are generally good men who are trying to do the right thing. At the same time, just as with most first presidencies and their quorums regarding the earlier teachings of blacks being inferior in the pre-mortal existence, men get things wrong. Through the feelings I have had, this policy is not of Christ. I think it is very easy for members who already have biased feelings against our LGBTQ brothers and sisters to instantly “connect” with the policy. In fact, many might say that they have a testimony through the Spirit of this policy. There’s a connection they feel, but that does not mean it is a policy supported by Christ. Decades ago, there were some that questioned the seed of Cain doctrine. They questioned the teachings that blacks were inferior. Remember, our church leaders taught this from the pulpit. There are many like me today that have these same feelings about this new policy. And as with the former false teachings, it might take a new perspective, a social nudge, a re-evaluation of old fashioned notions, a humbling of sorts, and a courageous prophet that will make the right, the most Christlike move. Or…nothing will change, the line will remain in the sand, the Church will shrink and will become more orthodox. Members like me, we’ll find more accepting places to go. I hope not, as I love being Mormon. But it will be interesting.

  9. Good questions, George. Christ, biased? No way. I know you are trying to tie the two together, but I see them as very different issues. I’d have to do some searching here. Maybe as a Jew, he knew Jews, the Mosaic law, etc. It was his element. He didn’t find many Jews among the Nephites, but taught them personally, if you believe in the historicity of the BoM. Tribe of Levi…was I have no idea. They were associated with the old law, pre-Christ. I think you are hinting to some having the priesthood while others did not. Can you come up with other examples post Christ? Pigs and shellfish. Actually, scholars actually wonder about this, but many believe in symbolism surrounding this belief. Honestly, I look at it like I do the word of wisdom. There’s some inspiration regarding the law of health, but there was limited science, and most points were based on common thoughts/feelings of the time. I am not seeing where you are heading with this one.
    So why would it have been Brigham Young’s responsibility and not Joseph Smith’s? The priesthood was given to him, so why not the “rules” associated with it? I see it more likely that BY was influenced by his society, as you and I are. He wasn’t putting out revelation like JS, so started coming up with man-made theories. Once a person who has the title of prophet comes up with a theory, it becomes revelation. People believe it, because he has the title. They follow it. History is made, for the good or the bad.

    • I think the church will continue to grow. One thing people are not yet noticing is the artifact evidence, linguistic, archeological sites, cultural, and dna evidence supporting the Book of Mormon found in North America.

      Just like the lack of evidence found in meso America was causing people to question their faith. I think as the evidence in North America becomes well known you will see a bolster of peoples faith and also missionary work. It will be easier for members to doubt their doubts of the church. I think you will see a larger increase especially east of the rockies were the Book of Mormon took place.

  10. Brigham Young did receive official revelation see Doctrine and Covenants section 136. As to why BY was given this responsibility versus Joseph Smith I can only speculate which at this point would be no good.

    I personally believe that priesthood bans whether in modern day or in the old testament were directed by God that cannot be understood based on our own biases and lack of knowledge to Gods divine will. But the fact that blacks were once slaves and under severe discrimination is good enough reason for me no to not get mad about the black priesthood ban.

    I never thought about how mosaic law effecting Lehi being of the tribe of Manasseh and not Levi. That is a good question I never considered. Right off I would say that he had to have held the priesthood. Lehi was a prophet so was Nephi and also did temple worship. As to when the tribe of Manasseh could hold the priesthood I do not know. Maybe the lost 116 passages or scriptures we currently do not have would have explained it.

    I’m 100% certain the Book of Mormon is a historical record. Physical evidence does not matter but the fact that every aspect of the Book of Mormon has evidence for it in North America is insightful.

    For example people talk about there being no dna evidence, breastplates, head plates, etc is completely false.
    The highest concentrations of DNA marker haplo group x is found in Israeli’s and North America Indians. Breastplates, head plates, and elephant smoke pipes are all found in North America pre Columbus.

    North American Native Americans have Hebrew and Book of Mormon like artifacts, practices and culture.

  11. We’ve somehow gotten way off of the topic of this article. I can see how many of our millennials are choosing to not attend seminary based on just the fact that their LGBTQ friends’ lifestyles are not accepted within the current church. They love and respect their friends and don’t see the same respect given back from the church. Not mentioned by this writer is the fact that information about Church history is just a Google search away…and much of what they read is not touched upon by the Church. I hope the innoculation effort can somehow help, but unfortunately many will be able to see through it, or use that information as a springboard to deeper searches. It’s time to move away from our correlated black and white way of teaching and thinking, and help them look at the history of the Church and many aspects of the Gospel in a more nuanced way. And this applies to the adults in the Church, as well!

  12. When talking about the priesthood ban being “slow” why doesnt anyone mention that the bretheren were trying to keep the church together as it is well established that many lay members individually had a prejudice against colored people and that it was a matter of expediency to keep faithful members active as they slowly transitioned to inclusion so as to not lose existing members for potential members.

    Why is everyone so hard on the bretheren? Have faith and waver not. That is my prayer for all.

  13. Ldog

    I could not disagree with you more. The church does show respect to the LGBTQ community by passing none discrimination laws in Utah and other ways.
    Gods standard is set and has been clarified in recent revelation. Engaging in homosexual relationships is apostasy no matter how many socially liberal people old or young within or without the church disagree.
    But it has been fun discussing these issues.

  14. George,

    I do think the Church has done a fine job drawing a line in the sand. Now it’s up to its members, old and young, to make a decision. The Wheat and the Tares, as many would frame it. Others may frame it as bigotry. We’ll see what happens, but we can see the writing on the wall. The much anticipated missionary surge has produced a weak growth rate. Unfortunately, the years of D&C’s white harvest may have come and gone. A sad reality for the Church.

    • This message is reminiscent of times past when they would say the church is doomed because Joseph Smith was murdered or saying the were Book of Mormon historicity issues. If you believe that God is at the head of the church nothing can stop it.

  15. Ron,
    Okay, so you are suggesting the reason the priesthood ban was so slow in coming was because some members simply weren’t ready. So if I understand your rationale, God choose to wait for over a century because he didn’t want to offend racist members, all the while prohibiting all blacks and their families from receiving the blessings of the priesthood. Hmmm… I just don’t believe in loving heavenly parents that do that. In fact, I believe far more in men, no matter what prestigious position or calling they hold, making poor, uninspired decisions WAY before I throw God under the proverbial bus. But if it helps members feel better to not consider the real victims, well, they have every right to think that way.

    • Ldog,

      I didn’t throw god under the bus. He has his reason for not coming now in his full glory but I dont blame him for it. I thank him for all he does. I dont think there is a people ready to live his full law so he can dwell with us. If he came now in his glory we would shrink from it and it would destroy us. His delay is a compassion.

      Have faith in the lord that he called prophets and u will be filled with the lords grace.

  16. Ron,

    The Church currently sits as single marble in a jar of 1000. Think about that. Understand those odds. Our prophet has nothing to do with the other 999 marbles. I believe that there are many vehicles, many ways that our heavenly parents have created to help their sons and daughters return to them. Our church is just one. If you think Christ is waiting for the world to be ready for him, do you think he’s waiting for the LDS population to get to a certain point? The church could quadruple in size and still not even be 1% of humanity. Unfortunately, when you look at the growth trend since the early 90’s, people are not accepting our dogma. This will continue. But I don’t think it matters much. An omniscient god has a plan for all 1000 of the marbles. And it has nothing to do with the LDS church. In my mind it has everything to do with us loving one another, no matter our beliefs, no matter our skin color, no matter our sexual preference. Are we able to think for ourselves and think out of ourselves and do good and love our neighbors, especially those that are very different from us? I believe that is the calling of all humanity.

    • A figurative calling of humanity can also be realized by a covenant offered by jesus through a calling to his priesthood. Both are good but one comes with a binding seal of authority.

      We have always been described as the leven.

      Dont do a head count until you count the acceptance levels on the other side of the veil.

      • Neither you nor I can do that…so we’ll both see what happens on the other side. I have a hope that it’s going to be that way. What you are saying, though, is that this world is to simply to get a physical body and learn between good and bad. A statistically negligible amount of God’s children have had “the truth.” Almost 0%. So you are insinuating that the Church really is not a very important part of being here on earth. Because if it were, I mean come on…omniscient heavenly parents would have made it a much bigger thing. But I get it, 99.99% of the gospel actually happens post death. That’s a pretty sad card to play, but I guess we have to play the cards we’ve been dealt. OR…we take a different perspective of everything we have learned and thought we knew. Maybe there are many wonderfully diverse ways to return to our loving heavenly parents. The more I learn and have experiences with diverse people, the more I tend to lean to this plan. It seems far more comprehensive.

        • Covenants are offered to all that have and will live, and the key distinguishing feature is that they are in the form of a recorded event that can be accepted by proxy. The majesty of temple work.

          This process is what binds the atonement for all. Not just the resurection guaranteed freely for all but if entering into the presence of the lord is desired, then exaultation too.

          The key difference between a covenant relationship and “a diverse way,” as you mention, is that as close as you can get on your own it is still the lords choice to allow you to enter into his rest. It is his rest to give and the temple covenants are his offer.

          Knowing that the “diverse way” cannot bind the lord, you have no promise that he will allow you in.

          Temple covenants are the key to that promise of exaultation.

          The function of the church in this respect is to function as the “county recorder.” In this function, you cannot be the owner of land in a respective county unless it is recorded.

          The cool thing is that when you are “recorded” and live by that “recorded event” a divine power all its own dwells within you.

          • Ron,

            I respect that you fully believe in all of this. So why do you think when Christ was here, he really didn’t teach this as you have explained? And why so few of our brothers and sisters will ever go through the temple in this life? And the system is broken with temple work, because we can only go back a few hundred years with valid names? And many names are done multiple times as mistakes are made or multiple entries are made. It seems so messy. I guess the answer would be, as I’ve heard in church, that it’s all going to be fixed/solved once Christ returns. Is that what you subscribe to, as well? Well, if Christ is just going to fix everything, what if he says, “Hey, you Mormons…why did you think you needed to do more than I already did for you? Why did you think that we wouldn’t all be together once we died? Who in the world did you learn this from, because I didn’t teach it?” I guess that’s when we all point to Joseph Smith. What are your thoughts?

  17. Ldog,

    It doesnt matter how I feel about joseph smith and his successors but how you feel about them.

    If you feel the bible contains the whole of salvation and exaltation then I can understand how come you feel that way about joseph smith, but if you feel there is more than within those pages that one would need to secure their salvation and exaltation then it is completely reasonable that more be revealed.

    The bible speaks of what is required to be saved but very little within its pages teaches exaltation.

  18. Ok, so all of the exhalation stuff is found in in the D&C? Like D&C 132. Weird that Joseph Smith didn’t even seem to follow his own revelation(s) in that section in the way he chose to practice polygamy. He also chose to not tell his own wife about most of his wives. Hard for me to understand that as a true man of God. He practiced polyandry, which also just doesn’t sit right with me. So you understand that only those that are in a polygamist relationship will inherit the highest level of exaltation? I’m assuming you’re cool with that. I’m not. My wife’s not. How does your wife feel about that plan? In an earlier discussion that maybe you and I had, I question whether polygamy is really of God, or is it of man? Remember, I was one that was asking for all of the many positives associated with the practice. Remember, I was one who argued that the practice of polygamy has done more to hurt the Church than the Book of Mormon and all of the missionary work in this dispensation has done to grow the church. Omniscient heavenly parents would have not had it be “restored” from the past, as it’s just killed the potential for amazing Church growth in this dispensation. Most non-members only think of this “vile” practice when they think of our church, even today. And by the way, our church leadership has been just fine since the second Manifesto NOT actively practicing it. Not even talking about it. In fact, I sense quite a bit of embarrassment at our polygamist past. We’re so proud of it that it was never taught to most of us in seminary and church. In my opinion, I suspect that the angel and sword was something Joseph concocted as his fame grew. So that rules out a lot of his ideas regarding the other exhalation stuff. Was he brilliant, sure. Was he inspired by God, sure. Is he more important than Christ in terms of setting up the fullness of how to reach exhalation, how families can to together, because that’s really what TBM’s have to believe…and I won’t go nearly that far. In your mind what is the difference between being saved and being exhalted? Because Christ paved a path for all to be resurrected. Is that what you consider being saved? Anyway, please include those positives of polygamy. I’ve placed the negatives of polygamy on one side and am interested in any and all positives of this practice to help at least balance things out a bit. I’ve even gone to FairMormon and all I am hearing is crickets.

    • I can think of one benefit of polygamy. That benefit would be the establishment of Gods church on the earth. The Book of Mormon states why polygamy is practiced to raise seed unto God Jacob 2:30. Abraham Isaac and Jacob practiced polygamy some of which had concubines. David and Solomon practiced polygamy and also had concubines. The question I would ask would the Jewish faith have lasted on the earth if it was not for polygamy. You got to remember that they did not do missionary work the establishment of the faith was established completely by families that practiced God ordained polygamy.

      So if you look at today would the church be were it is today if it was not for polygamy. Polygamy in the words of Jacob allowed seed to be raised up into his church. After it served its purpose it was no longer needed. So the answer to your question would be that the church would probably be a pittance of where it is today of it was not for polygamy.

  19. If you dont have your own testimony, or believe mine, reasoning over anything without the holy ghost wont help anything.

    The questions youve asked have answers. The holy ghost has given me the answers to your questions but it must be asked why you havent gotten the answers from the holy ghost. Im barred from giving them till he reveals them to you. Sorry.

    I will pray for you to receive the answers from the holy ghost.

    • Ron there are not great answers to many of the important questions. To impose that there is diminishes the real concerns members have and the deep effort they have given to find satisfactory answers. Also please refrain from any comments where you judge another’s spirituality. Thank you.

  20. Thank you for your prayers, Ron. And for your assumption and judgement that the Holy Ghost is not in my life. Indeed, it is the main force that inspires me to open my mind and heart, to take off my blinders, and to improve the person and the member that I used to be. God speed.

    • Bill

      Prophets are allowed to have opinions and make mistakes. Infact seeing that prophets have made mistakes gives me reassurance that I can make mistakes too. Joseph Smith said that a prophet is only a prophet when he acts as such.

      Just because Brigham Young was biased or said that men lived on the moon does not mean he is not a prophet. God used Brigham to establish the church from Missouri to Utah and the south west. Was he successful on this yes he was. Would I trust Brigham Youngs OPINIONS about astronomy or think is adam god theory was correct no it is not nor was it ever ratified.
      Can you trust his revelation found in scripture D&C 136 yes.

      People like to point to the priesthood ban to question prophets and apostles but they have shown nothing to prove that God did not disapprove of the ban. Priesthood ban and others bans such as the gentile ban and mosaic food ban have been given then later revoked since the days of Moses. You show no evidence that God did not approve of the most recent priesthood ban just mans wisdom. Looking at were mans wisdom has lead our morally bankrupt society versus Gods revelations has lead this church its obvious who is inspired. The churches people are not perfect but the revelations are.

      Can you trust the most recent revelation that the homosexual lifestyles is apostasy yes. It is sustained and ratified by God his prophet and the quorum of the twelve apostles. There is nothing is scripture that shows the Homosexual lifestyles is anything but an abomination in Gods eye. To keep questioning Gods revelation on this subject puts one on shaky ground. We can show that we love those who live or support this lifestyle and still show through scripture and revelation that they can overcome this lifestyle and receive exaltation no matter how hard or how long it takes. As long as they are willing to live Gods standard and repent thats all God can ask for.

  21. Dang, George. I thought my conversation with you was done and we were going our own ways, and then you had to write that a person get rid of his/her homosexuality by 1.) reading scriptures and revelation, 2.) be willing to live God’s commandments, and 3.) repent. So a simple three step plan! It’s a good thing that you didn’t say to pray away the gay. Or go to diversion therapy. Think about this, George. Science is showing that homosexuality is biological, meaning it is not a choice. It is a real thing. People are not choosing to be gay. It is who they are intrinsically. When we throw out a three step plan to cure homosexuality, it just seems insensitive. Let’s take the second step of your plan, which is live the commandments. I think what you are eluding to is to not act on your gayness! So they can’t stop the feelings, but they can stop the action. Pretty simple, huh? Hey, George. If you have a wife, I’m sure you love her deeply. You show her this affection. Okay try this starting right now…do not show her affection. Go ahead. This means no hugs or kisses, no hand holding. Absolutely no intimacy! This experiment, well it will last… until you die. No physical love for another human being until you die. Simple. I hope you can get just a small glimpse of what you are telling our LGBTQ brothers and sisters that they must do. By the way…here’s a more realistic challenge, and it will be in three easy steps: 1.) sometime this week sit down with a gay person. 2.) Talk to that person. 3.) Get to know him or her. You will find that your own 3-step process, well, it needs to be thrown out. You will also meet a new friend and have a life-altering experience. Please try it…

    • The idea that people are genetically forced into homosexual relationships is ridiculous

      • I never said anyone was “forced” to do anything. Wait a minute! The Church is forcing LGBTQ members to never act on their feelings or they will be apostate. Now that is force for ya. Hey, when you follow my three step method, please sit down with a gay man who felt forced to marry a woman in order to conform to the Church’s teachings and find out how that worked out for that man, that woman, and any children that were born. There are many that have very sad, real stories that neither you nor I can truly understand.

        • The church tells members to not act on feeling to cheat on their spouse.

          The church tells members to not act on feeling to drink alcohol.

          The church tells single members to not act on feeling to break the law of chastity.

          Members have feelings to go against teachings of the church all the time.

          Members act on their feelings that are against church teachings all the time that is what repentance is for.

          Since no one can show through scripture that homosexual behavior is not immoral. Please explain why the scriptures are wrong and that homosexual behavior is moral.

  22. George, the scripture you are talking about is the Bible. I don’t fully trust the Bible and believe there is much fiction and metaphor within its pages. Remember, every word was written by men…fallible, short-sighted, and sometimes biased. So the Book of Mormon was to be written for our time. This issue of homosexuality is one of the hot topics of our time…oh, and women’s rights…oh, and racial equality. Start throwing out scripture about these issues from the most perfect book on earth that was written for our time. I’m sure they are in there somewhere…

  23. The standards are what they are. If you choose to reject standards set by God based own your feelings is shaky ground but to each their own. I recommend you accept the standards stated by Gods church through a living prophet, apostles and scripture. If you choose to accept the Book of Mormon as scripture than Joseph Smith is a prophet and the prophets that followed are also prophets despite the mistakes they made.

    Since we are not going to agree on this subject I hope we can civilly agree to disagree.

    • Except the standards are impossible to pin down as god’s or man’s. Please for a second try to think this through logically. 15 Prophets Seers and Revelators are certain they know God’s will that Blacks were less valiant in the pre-mortal life and that interracial marriage was sin. They are so certain they label it doctrine. Not only are they sure but the majority of LDS members are certain these men are right and most of them would say they know by the holy ghost that such is true. If this is the Lord’s Church and I hope it is, if they can not discern truth from racist error utilizing God’s flow of inspiration and revelation than the rest of us have no shot at doing so. The closest we can get is to to question, to search, to ask both through worldly learning and spiritual learning and then use our gut. This is the best chance we have at arriving at the best answer.

  24. Thanks for the banter, George. We don’t see things the same way, but I think we would both agree that striving to live a Christ-centered life is where it’s at. Love others, do good, always try to improve. I think we can at least agree on this. Godspeed.

  25. We do know the difference between God’s and man’s will. It’s called revelation and the four standard works. Your nuanced views allow one to pick and choose between what revelation and standards one chooses to accept basely solely on personal opinion what one likes or disagrees with.
    What is most troubling is a lack of trust in the brethren and the standard works. It seems to me your premier message is that you can’t trust the brethren or the standard works especially if you disagree with them or the scriptures.

    I have listened to many of your podcast and read many of your post. I can say that although I would agree with some of your views such as the flood being local. I’m pretty sure your views about the brethren and scripture are heretical.

    Prophets and apostle’s opinions and speculations about why god instituted a priesthood ban was never revelation. I for example think Presidents Kimball and other general authority statements about Polynesians being from Hagoth is incorrect. But all in all its inconsequential.

    If you left out your lack of trust in the brethren and scriptures I think you would be alright but because of this it throws your views straight up to the spacious building without a foundation and based on popular opinion.

  26. George, wasn’t that “spacious building that was based on popular opinion” actually City Creek Mall? Or was it the Conference Center? Great and spacious buildings can be so confusing now days…especially when the Church is in the business of building them. I respect and understand your almost total orthodoxy, George. What’s weird is that you come on Bill’s site and criticize him for picking and choosing doctrine, but then go on state that you were deciding to do the same with President Kimball’s prophetic pronouncements. Remember this, if you are taking a hard stand against people taking a nuanced view of scriptures and prophet’s words…you better be prepared at all times and in all places to take every word as literal. Otherwise, I’m calling you a hypocrite. Are you living so black and white that you are unwilling to use God’s gift of your mind to think for yourself? When the prophet speaks, all thinking is done. Really?

    • I just listened to Bill Reels podcast about the Book of Mormon. It seems to me that he leans to the idea the Book of Mormon is of divine origin. I find that very interesting because the Book of Mormon states that one should follow the prophets and scriptures. In Lehi’s dream the straight and narrow path leads through a mist of darkness. Those who hold to the Iron which represent the word of God (scripture and prophets) stay on the path. Those who let go of the iron rod or the word of God fall away. The Book of Mormon and the scriptures is very black and white in that safety is found in following the prophets and apostles and the written word of God. Mr. Reels message that the brethren can’t be trusted completely contradicts the Book of Mormon. I know the difference when the brethren speak with the spirit and receive divine revelation and when they have opinion and speculations. You seem to conclude that the brethren do not receive revelation direct from God but are led by in your words “hatred and bias and intolerance and insensitivity and bigotry”. If you want to completely contradict the Book of Mormon and the other standard works that prophets that they do not receive revelation direct from Heavenly Father. You need to prove the Book of Mormon is an uninspired work of fiction made up by Joseph Smith and whoever helped him.

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