The 96 Theses: Constructive Suggestions for Improving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 25-36
Carnival of the Veil

The 96 Theses: Constructive Suggestions for Improving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 37-48

37. The Church shows disrespect for scholars, academics, and other honest truth seekers by denigrating them and subjecting them to ecclesiastical discipline.

38. The Church should apologize to and reinstate the September Six and other scholars and academics who have been subjected to ecclesiastical discipline for nothing more than engaging in honest academic inquiry and publishing the results of their pursuits.

39. The Church shows disrespect toward homosexuals by supporting a constitutional amendment to prevent states from granting all the same legal rights and privileges to homosexual couples that married heterosexual couples enjoy.

40. The Church should voice support for equal treatment under the law for all people regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.

41. The Church shows disrespect toward homosexuals by subjecting them to ecclesiastical discipline and by fostering a homophobic culture.

42. The Church should acknowledge the inherent worth and equality of all people, should not subject homosexuals (practicing or celibate) to church discipline, and Church leaders should foster a culture of acceptance, tolerance, and respect for all.

43. The Church shows disrespect for members whose spouses are not members of the Church or are disaffected with the Church by teaching that only couples sealed in the temple who maintain strict obedience to Church teachings and requirements will enjoy family relationships after death.

44. The Church should stop using fear as a weapon to intimidate members into marrying only within the faith and should clearly enunciate the Church’s position that a spouse’s disaffection with the Church does not constitute a legitimate ground for divorce. Nonmember or disaffected spouses should be treated by the Church with equal dignity and respect afforded faithful members of the Church.

45. The Church shows disrespect for the sincere religious beliefs of those who belong to other faith traditions and misrepresents other religions in missionary lessons, church materials, and in talks and other communications by Church leaders.

46. The Church should remove from all its lesson manuals denigrating and misleading remarks about other religions and their beliefs (as the Church did in 1990 with the temple endowment ceremony) and should acknowledge and apologize for the pain caused by the Church’s past insensitivities on the issue.

47. The church disrespects all members by fostering the illusion that church leaders are infallible through teaching that the prophets can never lead the church astray. This causes members to believe that they should be obedient to the commandments of men.

48. The church should frequently and publicly acknowledge the fallibility of church leaders, provide examples, and regularly counsel church members to only obey church leaders if they individually determine it to be in their best interest to do so.


Hey Equality, I just read all your theses so far and they are great! Thanks for putting into writing the problems and concerns so many of us are struggling with. BTW, Equality Time is one of the best blogs in the whole bloggosphere. I appreciate the time and thought you put into your posts and your excellent collection of damu blogs and other resources.

Jane Austen

Oops, I forgot to sign it! The above comment was from the inimitable Jane Austen


#47 / #48 will never happen, as long as things like this are published in the correlated lesson manuals:

"Now whatever I might have obtained in the shape of learning, by searching and study respecting the arts and sciences of men, whatever principles I may have imbibed during my scientific researches, yet if the prophet of God should tell me that a certain principle, or theory which I might have learned was not true, I do not care what my ideas might have been, I should consider it my duty, at the suggestion of my file leader to abandon that principle or theory."

That comes from Wilford Woodruf, in chapter 19 of "his" manual. We have institutional recognition that a prophet says it is more important to follow the words of not just prophets, but our "file leaders" instead of objective Truth. If that doesn't scream CULT, I don't know what else does, as two paragraphs later it says,

"The fact is there are a great many things taught in the building up of this kingdom which seem strange to us, being contrary to our traditions, and are calculated to try men. Brother Joseph used a great many methods of testing the integrity of men, and he taught a great many things which is consequence of tradition required prayer, faith and a testimony from the Lord before they could be believed by many of the Saints."

Joseph Smith redefined integrity to be personal loyalty to a fallible (and very flawed) human being, over principles of eternal and objective Truth.


So what happens when you get to 96 ... do you win some kind of bet? I'm just thinking you're really going to be scraping for those last 20 or 30 suggestions. [91. Conference isn't the same without the Tabernacle! 92. Bring back seventies!]


93. Where's all the orange carpeting?

94. The Church should fund a Broadway version of Johnny Lingo...

Seriously, Dave, I have had no trouble getting to 96 (although it's really only 48, since they are paired).

Cody Clark

Great posts equality! One question: Are you planning on sending these up to church headquarters or giving them to the local church authorities? Or maybe you could authorize someone who lives in Utah to go post them on th edoor of the office building? I'll volunteer.


Cody, thanks for the offer. Indeed, I have had daydreams of writing them calligraphically on parchment and posting it on the door of the COB. But I think I will keep that an idle fantasy.

Jane Austen

I like Cody's idea. I think you should take him up on it.


Ok, but I'm going to want major fanfare for it, not just some guy sneaking up and doing it. I need some of you folks from SLC who are PR-savvy to make sure the media are there running tape for the event. Unfortunately, I don't think I will have them finished in time to do it for the 489th anniversary of Luther's purported nailing of the 95 Theses.

Cody Clark


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