Episodes

5 Questions Sent up the Leadership Chain With No One Willing To Respond

My Stake President asked if we could try to send my Questions up the Chain to get answers.  I agreed to try it.  They sent them immediately back and said They could not nor would not answer them.  He also said He would not nor could not answer them.

Here are the 5 Questions

1.) If Homosexual members of the church didn’t choose their homosexuality as the Church now acknowledges at least in the case of most homosexual members, is it realistic to expect them to be celibate their entire lives? Before answering please consider the following. It is simply human to be connected intimately with another human being. It is “not good for man to be alone”. Even our Church leaders in the case of when their first wife dies, most of them soon marry again. There is a recognition that being alone is not desirable and even prophets and apostles after having checked all the boxes of the gospel plan still find themselves not wanting to be lonely and marry again for the sake of of not being alone. And yet we ask our gay brothers and sisters to be alone. To intentionally not date, not hold hands, not kiss, not marry, not have companionship. Can you help me understand why the very people who no longer need to check any box in the gospel plan and yet are uncomfortable with their loneliness that they again seek to enter into a new relationship, how these same folks who think our homosexual brothers and sisters should confidently be able to go their entire lives being void of the very thing Church leaders could not be without? Is it in fact possible our homophobia is getting in the way of seeing these folks as Jesus would see them?

2.) By what source do Church leaders know that the past doctrines of race (such as those of color being less valiant, or having a curse, or that interracial marriage was sin) are false theories? In other words past leaders confidently taught such theories as Doctrine (see the 1947 correspondence with Dr. Lowry Nelson & 1949 First Presidency Letter). By what source did current leaders received word that those past doctrines are false? It seems confusing that if we claim the Holy Ghost or god as the source, is it not the Holy Ghost that confirmed those past false theories taught as doctrine to those past leaders? In other words is not both sides claiming spiritual certainty? Did not those past leaders speak by the spirit? Did they not also have confidence from God when they stated such things? And if we are sure they were wrong, could not we in the exact same way be wrong about the things we impose about Homosexuality? Could not our current leaders interpret their bigotry and bias as from God just as past leaders did?

3.) We now now that Joseph Smith’s 5 translation productions contain direct borrowing from sources not within things the Nephites and Lamanites had access to. The Book of Mormon has too much 19th century material, phrases, and theology that even our scholars say we need to re-frame how we see that book. The Book of Moses borrows so heavily from the New Testament Books of Mathew and Luke (written long after Moses). The Book of Abraham certainly was not translated from the Egyptian papyri and also has source concerns, the Inspired Translation of the Bible borrowed heavily from a contemporary source, Clarke’s commentary, and the Kinderhook plates were a fraud to trick Joseph. Is the Church prepared to honor the data and make space for people to be both not convinced by historicity and also to be fully seen as faithful and fully participating? Or at the least to be open to completely reframing the narrative of what these “translations” are and how they came about?

4.) Joseph Smith had a relationship with Fanny Alger a maid in the Smith household 2 years before sealing keys were
restored. Joseph Smith proposed to 16 year old Lucy Walker after sending her father on a mission and essentially adopting her and a few of her siblings as his children. There are other cases of young people as well including telling 9 year old Mary Elizabeth Rolling Lightner that some day she would be his wife. Today we recognize how vulnerable young children are. Their minds not fully developed. We grasp how easily a child can be coerced. Can we acknowledge or at least make space that Joseph Smith may have operated in ways with young girls that is understood as unhealthy, predatory behavior, and that these young girls were in a vulnerable state and that pressure of one kind or another used on young people when they are vulnerable and susceptible to coercion is not appropriate or healthy. In light of the data of such can we make space for Joseph Smith to be have at times possibly acted in ways unbecoming of a priesthood holder and unethical behavior towards children? Or is he untouchable even when the data points to deep unhealthiness and unethical behavior?

5.) There seems to be a tension in Mormonism for how a member can express serious concerns of unhealthiness in the Church. The acceptable method seems to talk to your file leader and if he takes the concern seriously, to pass it up the chain. The flaw in this system is the pressure through things said and unsaid for those leaders up the chain to be loyal and it becomes easy for those higher to make the messenger passing the concern to feel shame and guilt for doing so. Elder Packer for instance stated “”Either you represent the teachers and students and champion their causes or you represent the Brethren who appointed you”. Such teachings make it difficult for serious concerns of systemic issues to be heard and validated and addressed. So with that said, could you lay out an effective way for serious concerns to be heard, validated, and addressed?

6 thoughts on “5 Questions Sent up the Leadership Chain With No One Willing To Respond

  1. Many of the answers to these questions are addressed very well by Richard Bushman in RSR. It would appear that you have read literature based on less reliable sources, such as Origins by Palmer or Mormonism Unveiled by Howe – which contains the very suspect Harlbut affidavits. I do take issue with the book of Moses being duplicative of the NT. More the OT. In fact, much of it is related to apocryphal and pseudo literature which JS did not have access to in 1830. This is something that irks the evangelical community i.e the existence of facts, doctrines and ideas in non-canonical early Christian Church literature which is similar to what is taught in Mormonism eg. Origen’s and the other early church fathers’ belief in the preexistence, which was shut down by a catholic council in 500 AD. Baptism for the dead – did you know there are other churches in existence today who practice baptism by proxy who are not LDS offshoots. Re your homosexuality question – all christianity teaches we live in a fallen world subject to the curse. Thorns and thistles. Breakdowns in DNA. Death. Anger and Lust – these are very natural, but we seek to restrain them (St. Paul’s war in the flesh). Pedophilia is natural. People do not wake up and decide one day to be attracted to children. In some countries in Europe the age of consent has been lowered in recent years, to as low as 12 for boys in at least one or two countries, thereby making sex between a 13 year old buy and a full grown man legal. Is that okay? As for the race issue – the curse of Cain doctrine is not a unique Mormon one. Protestants and catholics alike believed that Cain, and later Ham’s son Canaan, were “cursed” with black skin. They thought this justified slavery given the wording of the curse by Noah on Ham and his offspring. In fact, the early church fathers in the first and second centuries believed this too. It “could” be true. The BOM (and this somewhat supports your idea that it has 19C influences) is very anti-slavery in its language. Yes, at first we think, what! black skin is bad? But it immediately goes on to castigate the Nephites for despising their brethren for the color of their skin, as though the black skin language was inserted to deliberately make a point that treating people any differently is wrong. And JS was all for freeing the slaves. His letters regarding slaves are one of the things which provoked the Missourian mobs. Regarding young brides – in southern Italy in the early 20th century – brides as young as 14 often married men ten years senior – I know, my grandparents did that. You cannot take a 2018 worldview and impose it on rural far flung frontier parts of North America in the early 1800s. Hey, these are not all adequate answers, but maybe some of them will at least make you think there there is more nuance here than you suspected.

  2. James: “pedophilia is natural” REALLY??!! THAT is not something that I would ever want to be a part of justifying. I guess its the old “EVERYONE else is/was doing it” justification. Odd. Sex with animals is something people do in places too, I would suppose, but that doesn’t make it a moral or good practice or maybe it does to you. But it is “natural”. If, as you say pedophilia is “natural” then so would homosexuality or bestiality based on “nature”. If there are sex parts and they fit then it is “natural”. Unless YOU get to define what natural is. There are animals in nature that behave homosexually = Natural.
    Acting morally, legally, honestly and with integrity is the issue. Just because “they did it in the good ole’ days” is a silly cop out. In the 1800’s people did not generally think it was okay or moral for someone to want to have sex with a child when the adult was:
    1) already married
    2) old enough to be the child’s father (and previously calling her “adopted daughter)
    3) lying to everyone around that it wasn’t being done (hence indicating that the adult KNEW it was wrong)
    4) The fruits of pedophilia as you say being “natural” is Warren Jeffs and many other pedophiles abusing children in the name of religion. Watch Elizabeth Smart speak about her experience and let me know if you think she felt as though it was “natural” for her to be having sex with an old man at 14 years of age. Brian Hales even admits the census data of the Joseph Smith era indicates that age gaps where a child is having an “adult” relationship as in marriage/sex where the partner is much older would “raise eyebrows”. A young person in a relationship with another young person is not eyebrow raising in many cases, but this is not what is being discussed. For you to say the pedophilia is normal says a lot about you and is pretty concerning. But that’s Christianity / religion for you. The eternal justification because God says is okay. FLDS anyone?

    • AJ,
      I don’t agree with any of what James said, but I think you misinterpreted his assertion that “pedophilia is natural.” I believe he is saying that neither homosexuality nor pedophilia are “a choice,” and that giving homosexual behavior the go-ahead is tantamount to giving pedophilic behaviors the go-ahead. Not that pedophilia is “okay” but that neither pedophilia nor homosexuality are okay just because they are natural.

  3. Bill, homosexuals cannot evolve together. Their anus’ will never accept a penis without caution and preparation.

    They cannot produce offspring unless they enter into a heterosexual relationship.

    Kissing, holding hands, or embracing a person of the same sex is not serious sin.

    Homosexual Intercourse and marriage is serious sin. It thwarts the plan of God, and stops your family tree.

    Read webMD regarding Anal Sex. This is not safe sex. It is not good for your anus.

    • Ricky:
      Then couples that are infertle or marry past their 40s are also thwarting God’s plan according to your logic. This is why I don’t listen to religious nuts.

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