Social Issues

Prophets gone astray

jonah-and-the-whale
7. Jonah was a prophet, tried to run away,
But he later learned to listen and obey.
When we really try, the Lord won’t let us fail:
That’s what Jonah learned deep down inside the whale.

Certainly my least favorite song in the Children’s Song Book (to the point that I refused to play it at all during my last stint in primary), but the story of Jonah has been going through my mind a lot for the last week or so.

I recently listened to a great podcast episode discussing the Assyrians and Nineveh which put it fresh in my memory.  When you look at the book of Jonah, the first chapter contains almost everything we all remember about Jonah: He was called to preach to Nineveh, runs away, gets thrown overboard, then eaten by a whale, where he stays for 3 days/nights.

However, if you continue on, Chapter 2 is his prayer of thanksgiving for having survived. Things start getting interesting in Ch. 3 (for our purposes at least).  After he’s on dry land, the Lord commands him to go cry repentance to Nineveh (and boy did they need it – see the Hardcore History episode above if you want details), and threaten them with destruction.  When the people hear his dire prophecy, they actually repent, and God stays His hand and doesn’t destroy the city.

Here’s where it gets interesting: Instead of expressing joy like your typical missionary, Jonah then gets MAD! He’s upset that God didn’t punish those darn evil people like He said He would.  The rest of Chapters 3 and 4 go on to show God teaching Jonah how he loves EVERYONE. (more…)

Protecting the Children (from Cognitive Dissonance)

My response to the recent policy change as well as the subsequent “clarification” has been one of surprise, sadness, and disappointment.

For someone already in the midst of a faith crisis, one of the hardest parts in all of this has been the Church’s response to all this.

  • The fact that it quietly inserted such a drastic policy change into the handbook without any discussion…
  • The fact that they claim their letter was just a clarification and contained nothing new (“there has been no doctrinal change with regard to LGBT issues”). Rather, we’d all just misunderstood the clear wording of the original, or taken it without context (i.e. “has ever lived”).
  • The fact that the earlier video response from Elder Christofferson did nothing to “clarify” the policy, but rather just defended it.  If it was only intended to apply to a tiny subset of those affected by the original wording, why didn’t he “clarify” then?
  • Finally, the fact that this has been represented as simply an effort to protect the children in these households. This is the most outrageous of all.  (see #1 below)

Personally, I feel like the entire policy contains nothing but harmful and hurtful language, and sadly I feel like that was intentional.  In the last week, I have come to an understanding that does make sense as to why the church would move to change the definition of apostasy to include entering a SSM.  The parallel to polygamy initially felt to forced, but now I can see that there is one strong link: Both of these to forms of marriage represent a rather explicit repudiation of the authority of the Brethren over issues of marriage.  That may be due to seeing them as fallen prophets or as stodgy, out-of-touch old men, but the result is the same.  Both acts do represent a deliberate defiance against the leaders in a way that most other sins (fornication, murder, abuse) don’t.  These other sins of passion are seen as “serious transgressions” and may warrant discipline, but these two forms of marriage are somewhat unique. (I’d be curious if anyone ever made the same arguments about inter-racial marriage in the past, when such marriages also flew in the face of counsel from the brethren – see #3,4) (more…)

Homosexuals and the Church

A relatively small step taken this week by the Church, though I will say I’m happy they’ve done it.  This week, the church came out in support of anti-discrimination legislation that would include protections for the LGBT community, at least as far as housing and employment (at non-church institutions). Like I said – not a giant leap, but at least a small step.

However, what I found most refreshing, was the use of terms such as LGBT, Gay, Lesbian, and homosexuals. I’m so tired of the church’s use of “Same-Gender-attraction” or talk of “So-called homosexuals” – and I think this is the first time I’ve seen those terms used in any semi-official way aside from the MormonsAndGays website put out (quietly) by the church.  The use of these other terms has been quite belittling, de-legitimizing, and I’m excited to see them disappear from our lexicon.

Anyway, line upon line…