Badgers? We don't need no steenking badgers!
Song of the Week: MLK/Pride in the Name of Love

The 96 Theses: Constructive Suggestions for Improving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 85-96

85.  The Church ignores important issues such as the environment, capital punishment, war, poverty, and social justice.

86.  The Church should focus on programs to alleviate poverty, improve the environment, oppose war, and fight for the oppressed and downtrodden as this is an integral component of the gospel taught by Jesus Christ.

87.  The Church is a white male gerontocracy.

88.  The Church should institute term limits for General Authorities: mandatory emeritus status at age 75 for Apostles and 5-year terms for Seventies.  As the apostles retire and the Seventies serve out their terms, women, minorities, and members outside the United States should be called into highest quorums of the Church.

89.  Richard G. Scott, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has taught in General Conference that childhood victims of abuse need to repent for the part they played in the abuse. The Church has not corrected or repudiated this teaching since it was spoken in 1992.


90.  The Church should acknowledge the harm caused by Elder Scott’s remarks and apologize to childhood abuse victims. The Church should retract and repudiate Elder Scott’s remarks and make clear that his remarks do not represent Church doctrine.


91.  Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has taught in General Conference that women who wear clothing deemed immodest by the Church’s standards constitute walking “pornography” and bear some responsibility for problems men may have with pornography.


92.  The Church should acknowledge the harm caused by Elder Oaks’s remarks and apologize to women for them. The Church should retract and repudiate Elder Oaks’s remarks and make clear that his remarks do not represent Church doctrine.


93.  Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has taught in the Church’s official periodical that God’s love is not unconditional.


94.  The Church should acknowledge the harm caused by Elder Nelson’s remarks and make clear that his remarks do not comport with the scriptures. The Church should retract and repudiate Elder Nelson’s remarks.

95.  The Church shows disrespect for members of the Church who request no contact from Church representatives by ignoring such requests and harassing members who would prefer to be left alone.

96.  The Church should put in place a system to ensure that the wishes of members who request no contact are honored, and the Church should apologize to members who have been harassed by leaders who have failed to respect personal boundaries established by Church members.

Comments

The Zero Boss

Sounds good to me. Thanks for the reminder of how whack Mormonism can be. Of course, I just finished UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVE, so I didn't need that hard of a reminder.

Doug Towers

One of these statements I don't know enough to talk about. One is a matter of opinion. But in regard the rest, you have raised 2 increadibly serious issues with which I strongly support the church's stand.

So called "victims" of sex crimes are often very much to blame for their actions. A 14-years-old girl carrying on a sexual relationship is definitely not a child. Nor is she ignorant of sex and its consequences, as many screwball psychologists present. God gave the age of 8-years-old as the age of accountability. There are children of that age having sex. I remember seeing a documentary that claimed that pygmies MARRY at 8. People need to pull their heads out of the sand on that one. I think people must walk around blind.

Nextly I am about to post on the issue of so many women's lack of moral responsibility. If I wanted to see pornography I know where to buy it. I am particularly at a loss to understand how a woman in the church can go along thinking it is OK to show cleavage. I hear the arguement that it is cool. If I can be responsible and get dressed I can see no reason why they can't. If I turned up at church showing the top of my backside, they would be disgusted and consider me immoral. Typical double standards.

As to women in leadership positions. Men have more of a disposition to leadership and governing than do women. Women are better than men at what is immediately around them. Men are better at overall organisation. Women have to be talking with other women in front of them. Men feel a sense of working together regardless of distance. I could go on and on with why God chose the intelligences he did to be men, and the ones he did to be women. His action shows far superior understanding of this gender thing than you apparently realise.

Ujlapana

Wow, are people like Doug for real? I've never seen somebody make Mormonism look so bad! He almost out and says that women were the less-valiant intelligences in the pre-mortal life.

Last I checked, showing the top of your backside is not appropriate for women either, so I miss the double-standard.

Doug, are you 13 yet?

Equality

Doug,

Thank you for commenting. I think it goes without saying that I vigorously disagree with your statements about abuse victims and women. But I do appreciate you commenting here. I have read your blog and all your comments here and I think you are an earnest, sincere believer in the restored gospel and the doctrines and policies promulgated by the Utah-based LDS Church. As you yoursefl have stated, you are a faithful Latter-day Saint who actually takes seriously the doctrines taught by the "apostles and prophets."

What I find refreshing about your comments is your honesty and frankness in defending LDS teachings and practices. I have found nothing in your statements that would contradict mainstream Mormon orthodoxy. You are an able, willing, and valiant defender of Mormonism.

Indeed, all you've really done with your comment here, if I could sum it up in one sentence, is to say "I, Doug Towers, sustain Richard G. Scott in his position as an apostle and I agree with his views." Certainly, any true-believing, orthodox Latter-day Saint ought to do the same.

What your comments represent to me is pure Mormonism, unvarnished, and undiluted with PR spin.

Thanks for stating so eloquently the stark contrast between my heretical views and your orthodox Mormon beliefs.

Mayan Elephant

Doug, your comments are begging for a harsh rebuttal. though, i wouldnt even know where to begin. suffice it to say, that i find your comments to be very much in line with what was said, endorsed and believed in mormon congregations around the world. i am sad that there is not a leader in the church willing to counter what you say, instead, they agree with you.

the church is not a safe place for girls and not a welcome place for women. your post highlights a few of the reasons why. well done, you have been instructed in all things and you are not ashamed to declare it.

Jordan F.

What I find refreshing about your comments is your honesty and frankness in defending LDS teachings and practices. I have found nothing in your statements that would contradict mainstream Mormon orthodoxy. You are an able, willing, and valiant defender of Mormonism.

Come on, E. You know that this represents the extreme of mormonism, not "mainstream mormon orthodoxy." Most Latter-day Saints I know are not this sexist. Rather than sustaining Elder Scott, I think "Doug Towers" has egregiously misinterpreted what Elder Scott said in General Conference. That's all I will say about that here.

Further, this statement by Doug Towers has nothing to do with Church Doctrine:

Men have more of a disposition to leadership and governing than do women. Women are better than men at what is immediately around them. Men are better at overall organisation. Women have to be talking with other women in front of them. Men feel a sense of working together regardless of distance.

Does Doug think he can read God's mind? Maybe he got this information from some faux-psychology manual written in the 1950s, but while I am sure God had his reasons for instituting things the way they are (see Isaiah 55:8-9 and the Proclamation on the Family), the reasons listed by Doug probably have nothing to do with God's reasons.

Doug- do us TBM Latter-day Saints (like me) a favor. Don't feed the "mormonism is whacky" crowd by super-imposing your own personal, sexist beliefs on an all-knowing, all-powerful God.

E: you know (or should know) full well that Doug's sentiments do not represent mainstream mormonism. There may be a crank or two in every ward who would feel confident saying that "Men have more of a disposition to leadership and governing than do women . . ., etc."

I, however, feel quite comfortable calling this "crank" doctrine. I believe that God instituted the priesthood organization as it stands, with males currently in charge of priesthood functions, but I do not know why. Perhaps back when people couched the difference in genders to such sentiments expressed by Doug, there were some in the Church who similarly speculated.

I certainly would not be audacious enough to project my own gender fantasies on God, though.

But if we are going to preach faux-doctrine by pretending we know why God did something, I would prefer to stick with the idea that men were so lazy that God had to give them priesthood leadership to help them reach their full potential. Though that also is pure speculation, just as much as Doug's "men are better suited to leadership" comment.

Mayan Elephant

Jordan. yeah yeah yeah. we have all heard the dougs of the church in our own wards and we put their comments on that big mormon dismissal shelf. thats fair.

though, i challenge you to find a leader in a white shirt that has ever stood up and contradicted even one thing that doug just said. sure he is extreme, but he has safely hit it straight down the fairway of mormonism.

tell me, do you think for a second that boyd packer disagrees with doug? golly, no. and more, would boyd be happy if every member of the church thought just like him? i dont suppose we know but there isnt any indication that he would be disappointed.

that is the issue. its one thing for you and i to hear brother whack say this stuff in fast and testimony meeting. its altogether different when its allowed to slide and be perpetuated because the leaders appreciate the effort by this type of member.

Equality

Jordan said:

"Does Doug think he can read God's mind? Maybe he got this information from some faux-psychology manual written in the 1950s"

I wonder if maybe that's the same place Spencer W. Kimball got his ideas on human sexuality.

Seriously, though, as long as the Brethren refuse to explain the reasoning for a given policy (such as the exclusion of women from priesthood offices), it is left to the members to speculate--and this speculation is often informed by comments made by supposed "authorities" in the LDS hierarchy. So while you are correct that the comment you quoted from Doug on why women don't hold the priesthood is speculation, I think Mayan correctly points out that there is nothing in Doug's comment that one could point to as being outside the bounds of mainstream Mormonism. Whereas, my calls for condemnation of Elder Scott's "blame the victim" remarks are.

capt jack

Thanks, Doug, for reminding me why I quit the church.

Jordan is right to tell you to shut up--like I've always said, the best anti-Mormon literature is written by Mormons, and you my friend are in line for a Pulitzer Prize in the material.

Rock on, Bro Doug!

Randy

I just went and re-read Scott's talk on abuse. It looks as though he simply doesn't understand the dynamics of abusive relationships. I'd venture a guess that a good many adherents would place his talk is in the category of "speaking as a man," and ignore it. Certainly my sister-in-law would not abide by any counsel that her 4-year-old daughter repent of anything in the wake of being raped by a teenage cousin, not even if Scott personally provided that counsel. It would be tragic, however, if a bishop or other ecclesiastical figure were to require repentance as part of the healing process following physical or sexual abuse.

Equality

You hit right on the problem, Randy. It may indeed be the case that Elder Scott's remarks don't represent official church doctrine. They may in fact be out of harmony with church doctrine. But he said them in General Conference. His address was vetted before and after it was delivered. The church is constantly reminding its members that they are to heed the counsel of the propehts and apostles. How many times have we heard in Elders Quorum that we should carry a copy of the latest edition of General Conference around with our scriptures because it's the scripture given specifically for our time. Stories are told by apostles of church members hearing a talk given by an apostle and immediately obeying the counsel given; such actions are help up as examples of righteousness and the manifest obedience praised as a great virtue. At the same time, apostles give talks chastising those who would question, doubt, or be slow to give heed to counsel given over the pulpit by the Lord's anointed (see, e.g., the talks by Bednar and Ballard on Hinckley's Great Earring Directive).

So, either Elder Scott's views expressed in General Conference represent the doctrine of the church or they don't. If they don't, it is reasonable to expect the church to make a statement repudiating them (there is precedent for the church doing this--see, e.g., the hullabaloo over the first edition of Mormon Doctrine, or the re-taping of Elder Poelman's talk on the gospel and the church). If Scott's views represent the church's, then one would expect the church to do nothing--which is precisely what it has done. So, if Doug agrees with Elder Scott and expresses that agreement, who is to say he is not expressing an orthodox opinion?

Jordan F.

Personally, I don't think that Doug's comments jived with what Elder Scott was trying to say.

For that matter, I also believe Equality has misinterpreted Elder Scott's choice of one phrase in an excellent talk about overcoming the scars of abuse through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

I won't go into my interpretation here, and I can't claim that mine is the "right" one (though it works for me). But I know the thoughts I had as I listened to this talk after praying before conference (as I always do) that the Lord would help me understand the words that would be spoken. The interpretations proffered by Equality and Doug do not match the understanding I gained that day. Maybe that's not "mainstream mormonism", but I can't believe that Doug's views about this issue truly represent mainstream mormon thought on the issue.

Doug Towers

I have spent 5 years counselling those convicted of sex-offences. I have been present for court cases relative to this, and examined other cases. I have watched the outcomes of these people's lives thereafter. I have worked with victims. I would ask of all you experts where your great knowledge has come from? Apart from one or two incidences, you would probably have little knowledge of the subject you are correcting me on. While you claim me to believe everything the GAs tell me, I would claim you believe the hype of the media.

In regard women. I honour womanhood far beyond many women, looking at the way some dress. Claiming that because I mention that men have a DIFFERENT skill to women means I think them inferior is just invented nonsense.

The 2 people that I love more than anyone else on this earth, and would lay down my life for, without the slightest hesitation are women. And that is without bringing my mother into it. Whom I also love very dearly.

Those women who have talked extensively with me on my opinions relative to women, have no doubt of my love for women.

As to where my knowledge of God's opinion comes from? There is this little thing in the church, that I know most members seem to ignore, called "personal revelation". It is shunned by those who have little, in an effort to remain comfortable on their chairs, and just get chance snibbits of information from conferences (with selective hearing and interpretation). However without it you won't get eternal life, according to the scriptures. So I suggest you start getting some. There is no reason why you can't be walking and talking with God. And if you aren't, how can you claim my opinions aren't his?

Jordan F.

Doug- I think you are wrong. Not completely so, but just a bit off here. No offense, brother.

By the way- I always strive to attend every session of General Conference and I love to study what was said for months afterwards.

I am sorry you think that I am one who prefers to remain comfortable in my chair, shunning personal revelation. I have four children, Doug, and personal revelation has been absolutely essential in helping me know how to raise them. I sincerely believe in personal revelation.

You must note that I do not disagree with the patriarchal order of the priesthood. I just disagree with your efforts to claim to know God's thoughts as to WHY the order is that way.

Isaiah tells us that God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts. That does not mean that we can't seek to know the mind and will of God in our own personal lives (something I live by daily) but it does mean that we should not proffer our own anecdotal experiences regarding gender differences and project them on to God.

I would bet that God's reasons for having things the way they are are much more complex and magnificent than a simplistic "men are better suited to leadership" attitude.

Can you point to the place in the proclamation to the world on the family, which I believe was inspired by God (contrary to what Equality might believe) where it says that men are inherently better at leading? at organization? Where it says that women can really only speak when other women are present? I do not think there is anything in that document which says those things. And yet, you claim this is why men have the priesthood and are put in leadership callings. Doug- we have been counseled not to speculate about such things.

The proclamation on the family already makes a powerful statement about gender- I do not think it needs to be added upon by you.

Equality

Sounds like, Jordan and Doug, that you are both getting personal revelation helping you interpret Elder Scott's talk but coming to different conclusions about what it means. Is God the author of confusion?

Jordan F.

Doug:

By the way- I actually agree with most of what you write on your blog (though I find you extremely uncompassionate at times).

I also am one who "takes the whole thing very seriously" and who "accept[s] those in authority within the church to have such authority within their various roles." Elder Scott's talk was very meaningful to me, and I believe that the Holy Ghost confirmed his words to me as he spoke (Equality- believe it or not, this does happen- I have felt it many, many times in my life). I do not believe he meant what you think he meant, however.

Jordan F.

Equality:

Laugh it up, but I do not think God is the author of confusion.

Equality

Then that must mean one of you got a real revelation from God and the other from some other source, no?

Jordan F.

I never claimed to have a revelation applicable to Doug Towers or to the Church at large (Doug, on the other hand, seems to be claiming just that).

I did claim that the Spirit confirmed an interpretation of that particular phrase to my heart for me, personally. Thank Heavens I DON'T receive revelation for the whole church.

Besides, by concentrating on one turn of words so negatively, you are making Elder Scott "an offender for a word." Isaiah counsels against this very thing, but since you don't believe Isaiah was a real prophet, I guess it does not matter to you what Isaiah said.

But I will not make Elder Scott an "offender for a word" which was probably not even meant as you (and interestingly, Doug Towers)suggest it was.

-Domokun-

Doug, I agree that we should all love women. But my limit is one, thanks. ha ha ha

Seriously, though, is it "love" to put them up so high on a pedestal that they are no longer human, but have turned into fragile, delicate, porcelain works of art that are good only to admire from afar? I think the highest compliment to give someone is to treat them as an equal. Assuming, of course, that one loves himself first.

-Domokun-

Jordan, which Isaiah are you talking about? I think most real biblical scholars agree that there are three authors of "Isaiah", and only one of them lived before 600 BC. That presents an interesting situation to ponder, doesn't it?

Mayan Elephant

5 years of experience does not automatically make one an expert in anything, really. for all we know, doug, you spent five years screwing things up.

one thing is for damn sure. that scott and oaks have little to no experience in these matters, and have admitted in some cases to having no inspiration or training.

they are just old dudes spouting crap off when it comes to these important matters. dont believe me, ask oaks himself about his pr rant about homosexuality.

if what scott said complicated the healing process for even one person, then he is part of the victimization, in my opinion. he knows people like you hang on his words, and believe them, and trust them, and follow them. so he shouldnt be saying crap that is harmful, especially about a topic like abuse.

equality is right, if the church cant get behind his words. if they arent qualified counsel. and if they create confusion for victims and others, then they should have the decency to correct the counsel. but, dont hold your hand on your ass waiting for that to happen, you may find your hand actually becomes attached to your ass and that could be uncomfortable.

-Domokun-

Jordan said, "I never claimed to have a revelation applicable to ... the Church at large" - that's OK, Jordan, nobody else claims to receive revelation for the entire church these days, either.

Jordan F.

Hahaha very funny, Domo. I know that this is a big hangup with you and Equality because of the guarded way President Hinckley chose to answer one question on a national news conference, but it does not match my experience to claim that we have a "prophet who does not prophesy."

I have heard President Hinckley often speak in the name of God on behalf of the entire church. I remember hearing rebukes in the name of the Lord for the way men are treating their families. I remember hearing that it was the Lord's will for more members to have access to the temple. I remember hearing that the Lord desired that members of His Church in all countries should have better access to education and the establishment of a perpetual education fund to accomplish the Lord's will in this regard. Most importantly to me, I remember hearing countless little things here and there spoken by President Hinckley that were confirmed to my heart by the power of the Holy Ghost.

All of this and more from a supposed "prophet who does not prophesy."

Sorry, Domo, but your tongue-in-cheek comment, which is actually funny on some irreverent level that I can appreciate, is not true in my book.

Jordan F.

Domo, Equality, ME, et al.

I am not trying to get you to agree with me. We are past that. Also, I do not hold your decisions against you. What good would it do? I do not think I could help "reconvert" you or some silly such thing.

The only reason I am saying these things is so that it is clear where I personally stand today. Not that it matters (though Doug seems to find it important) in an online community such as this. It's just that I have posted here before, and I think it is important to reiterate this.

Do I believe that every consonant flowing over President Hinckley's lips is inpsired of God or a prophecy? No, I do not. But I certainly believe that he prophesies.

I believe, as Doug apparently does (see Doug, we are on the same side here, to the extent that you don't make mormons look ridiculous by preaching faux-doctrine on the internet), that these things must be received with personal revelation.

Texasguy

Doug said,

"So called "victims" of sex crimes are often very much to blame for their actions. A 14-years-old girl carrying on a sexual relationship is definitely not a child. Nor is she ignorant of sex and its consequences, as many screwball psychologists present. God gave the age of 8-years-old as the age of accountability. There are children of that age having sex. I remember seeing a documentary that claimed that pygmies MARRY at 8. People need to pull their heads out of the sand on that one. I think people must walk around blind."

ARE YOU FUCKING OUT OF YOUR MIND? What would you say to the girls of a bishop who sexually molested his daughters (nine in total) giving them all kinds of issues for the rest of their lives. What would this not-so-hypothetical girl do. Should they visit their bishop who was called of God for counsel. When all of this came out and these daughters started getting counseling and guess what he got? One year excommunication and a hearty welcome back into the church one year later, where he served as a temple worker until his recent death.

I guess the only good thing that ever came of this was that his grandchildren all started thinking critically about the issue of bishops being called of God. Less than half remain in the church of coverups.

Children and rape victims are NOT responsible for the actions of fucking perverts and it is damaging for you to suggest it. You should go and pray for forgiveness.

Jordan F.

I think most real biblical scholars agree that there are three authors of "Isaiah", and only one of them lived before 600 BC.

Good point, Domo. I actually brought this up in Gospel Doctrine class, and couched it this way:

"While there is scholarly debate regarding who actually wrote portions of Isaiah, we can be certain that it is largely inspired of God because of how we feel when we read it."

I also mentioned how the Book of Mormon quotes portions of Isaiah (without getting into how some of those portions are alleged by some scholars to fall across the claimed divide of the various authors.

I am not sure who actually placed Isaiah 29:21 into the canon, but I am certain that it was inspired of God. Again, good point, Domo.

Also, on second thought (after having more carefully reviewed Doug Towers' blog), I can still say I agree with him but only to the extent that he claims to "take the whole thing very seriously" and "accept those in authority within the church to have such authority within their various roles."

Mayan Elephant

Jordan, that is a superdee duperdee lame standard.

I feel good when the red sox win. so what? doesnt mean its inspired of god.

i felt good staying home from church and getting some extra sleep. i felt good telling the high priest group leader i would not do any home teaching. i felt good when my brother married a non-member. i feel good reading fiction with my kids, including shel silverstein.

i did not feel good when i read the last conference report, but someone else might.

goofy standard you have taken on there. it diminishes your own capacity for feelings that are your own, not anyone elses, including gods. you should master what feels good for you and know why, without rationalizing it as you are regarding some ridiculous comments by old men in inherited roles.

Doug Towers

Let me first agree with Jordan F that you (Equality) have invented a conflict in our inspired messages, which doesn't exist.

I also find that some have continued to interpret my opinion of women by their own perceptions. You have this idea in your heads of what I must mean when I say this, that or the other, rather than taking what I said on face value. Not one of you have inquired as to what I think women are better than men at. I even originally stated one thing. But everyone is hung-up on this leadership issue.

Jordan F. I appreciate your sincerity, and we are in more agreement than I think you realise. However, you also have wrongly judged my opinions of women. The Holy Ghost and I have spent many, many hours on this subject (to answer your question). I too wanted to know why women don't get the priesthood. He explained. I can, therefore authoritively answer this question as my knowledge of my God. Yes, I certainly don't know everything Heavenly Father does and am miles from where I need to be. But I have walked and talked with him. And have learnt many things. And those things I have no hesitation in presenting where I feel man needs to hear them. Man is very screwed up in the roles of men and women. We should not add to this by talking of some complete sameness between men and women. GOD made a system of priesthood for men. How can you say me to be wrong because I tell you why?

As to individual stories of abuse, for every one you can tell me of children abused, I can tell you one of innocent men sent to gaol to be abused (for 10 years plus) because of a brainwashed society so sure that "children don't lie, particularly about these things". Isn't that how the nonsense saying goes? I realise that you all know the one side of the story. You don't need to convince me of that.

I have personally had a "victim" tell me her entire story was rubbish to support her sister's story that she assumed was correct. The sister informed me that she feels things happened in her sleep. Believing her story wouldn't be accepted she made it far more serious and while she was awake. The guy went to gaol, of course.

I have watched a family video of a 14-year-old flirting with someone older. This situation had happened for years. I saw her response to him at a time that he was later sent to gaol for supposingly violently using digital sex. According to the case he was this extremely violent man. According to the video she was completely at ease with him. Anyone with half a brain seeing the video would not have bought the claim in a fit. But the video wasn't shown.

I say, "bravo" to Brother Scott for having the guts to get up and finally admit there are problems (albeit a brief and watered down reference). I appreciate the sincerity you all feel toward victims. And I once only saw one side of it, as you do. So I understand you perfectly. However, just try to consider for a moment if some of these victims actually were involved. Are you going to deny them the right to realise this and repair their lives? Are you just going to be the perfect secondary victim and tell them it wasn't their fault, when you have no real idea? For compassion's sake I ask you to re-examine your knowledge on this. These people need help and a continuation of this thinking will never bring it. They will spend their life in misery and hiding from their conscience. You have no right to leave them there because you want to see this issue how it suits you.

I suggest you go to
http://lustwrong.blogspot.com and read it. Particularly the sections on fathers, men and the one on women, being wary.

Jordan F.

Fine, me. I don't care if you think it's stupid. Then again, I don't think I said anything about just "feeling good". Go ahead and read that in to my comments if you want, but that is not the standard I used. But you did get half of it. I said something about "how we feel." I don't remember saying "good" or even "bad" though. Please don't super-impose your assumptions about the standards other latter-day saints may use to judge things on to me. The feelings I am talking about transcend the terms "good" or "bad", and I did not use those terms, nor would I.

Jordan F.

Note that this should not decay into a conversation about whose version of truth is truer. My whole aim here is to point out, for whatever it's worth for whoever might find this in the future, that doug's assumptions about the church or the reasoning behind certain things are not "doctrinal" (and for that matter neither are mine, though I am not pretending to know all the reasoning behind what I see as the divine order of things).

Mayan Elephant

whoa. so it doesnt even require a positive feeling. just a feeling. by that standard, joseph smith was called to be a prophet when he felt the darkness overcoming him, not when the two...no one....no two... personnages in white arrived. right? i mean, its just a feeling that counts after all, not goodness or badness.

i feel when i type on my keyboard. so, my keyboard is god, and dont forget it.

Mayan Elephant

jordan, in all seriousness. this isnt about feeling good or bad or whatever. if something has been said and it is harmful. and it has the potential of being considered doctrine, or inspired or whatever by followers. a good leader would correct or clarify the message.

that is what is not happening. there is no clarification by leaders. instead, its left to apologists, bloggers and folks like you that are rationalizing your asses off. keep it up and you will be completely de-assed and find yourself shopping online for a new ass.

if packard says intellectuals, feminists and homosexuals are the scourge of the earth, and its not true - then he should fix that, not you. and it shouldnt be left to the followers to seek out that feeling everytime. thats just plain silly. whats a 14 year old supposed to do. they dont have the wherewithal to start building that mormon shelf of shit to dismiss while waiting for the right collection of feelings.

imagine a world where everything was based on feelings, and commons sense or facts were ignored. ok, its not that hard. you can experience for three hours every sunday.

imagine the same circumstances in a legal environment. "your honor, i felt like making a u-turn on I10 was the right thing to do. when kramer told me to do it, i felt something."

"yes. i feel like i had 50 million stolen from me by those guys at google. i would like them to pay me back. i feel like this really happened."

gimme a break jordan. lots of people have feelings about a lot of crap. doesnt make it quality crap. it only makes it crap with a fan club.

wry catcher

Despite the essential troll-ness of Doug's bullshit remarks, I do sometimes find it very refreshing for one of the ubiquitous sexist misogynist mormons to out themselves so visibly. It's always easier to deal with overt sexism than the smoke and mirrors and silly rhetoric (see: "presiding" doesn't actually mean "presiding" for one head-spinning example) of separate-but-equal gender roles, and "our women are happy."

Mormonism is founded on, steeped in, and fueled by straight up, old-fashioned women-in-second-class-status patriarchy. And I fully agree with ME that it's not a safe place for women or girls to be. People like Doug are just giving voice to what lies underneath the surface. Doug's views and conclusions are perfectly in line with the doctrine he espouses and the church that teaches it. People who come to different conclusions than Doug has, have to work against the mainstream to do so (see: a large segment of the bloggernacle) and have to have strong personal values that spur them to do so, as the institutional church and its leaders do nothing to prevent (and I would say actually encourage on varying levels) the exact conclusions Doug has come to.

Randy

Doug, you appear to be doing exactly what you accuse the rest of us of doing--generalizing about abuse victims generally from one or two personal experiences. In any event, even the issue with your 14-year-old example may be far more complex than you have any idea (from what you describe, it sounds like this person had a pathological issue, and those kinds of pathologies have some kind of etiology), and do you really think a 14-y.o should be held to the same standard of accountability as the adult who used her for sex? Moreover, your notion that the selection of age 8 for baptism somehow means that 8-year-olds are held to the same standards of knowledge and accountability as adults is, well, Iranian. In the criminal law, people are not held to adult standards until anywhere between 16 and 18, depending on the situation.

Whatever precise notions of victim accountability Scott had in mind, questions like, "well, why doesn't she just leave him?" or "why don't they call the police?" or "why didn't she fight back?" are not so simple as his talk makes them sound. There are undertones of Spencer W. Kimball writing that rape vicitms need not repent nearly as much as their rapists. Why should they repent at all? Incidentally, I know bishops who will not recommend "The Miracle of Forgiveness" as reading for anybody attempting penance. It's a terrible, terrible book.

Juggler Vain

What a brilliant real-life example of dueling Holy Ghosts! The ground rules for orthodox mormon debate are so flawed that the only thing that keeps the whole process moving forward is a mutual acceptance of authority. Thanks, you two, for illustrating this point so aptly.

Doug's Holy Ghost:
"As to where my knowledge of God's opinion comes from? There is this little thing in the church, that I know most members seem to ignore, called 'personal revelation'. It is shunned by those who have little, in an effort to remain comfortable on their chairs, and just get chance snibbits of information from conferences (with selective hearing and interpretation)...There is no reason why you can't be walking and talking with God. And if you aren't, how can you claim my opinions aren't his?"

Jordan's Holy Ghost:
"By the way- I always strive to attend every session of General Conference and I love to study what was said for months afterwards.

"I am sorry you think that I am one who prefers to remain comfortable in my chair, shunning personal revelation...I sincerely believe in personal revelation.

You must note that I do not disagree with the patriarchal order of the priesthood. I just disagree with your efforts to claim to know God's thoughts as to WHY the order is that way...I would bet that God's reasons for having things the way they are are much more complex and magnificent."

Orthodox Mormon debate is a challenging game, but not something I would base any important decisions on.

-JV

Jordan F.

ME:

keep it up and you will be completely de-assed...

No ass- isn't that, like, the American Dream?!? Awesome! Better than weight watchers! :)

Seriously though, I get what you are saying about feelings. You are right- those examples you gave would never fly in a court of law. Let me know when the spiritual claims of mormonism are actually being tried in Court. It's not going to happen in this country, though, because the courts routinely refuse to be the arbiters of religious belief. In case the issue does come up, the only issue the Court examines is the sincerity of belief held by the proponent.

I think it is entirely appropriate to rely on "feelings" to get my religious truth. Perhaps this epistimology is troublesome for others- it's OK. I'm not offended. But part of the espistimology I choose for informing my religious belief is feelings.

Speaking of which, if feelings are universally so unreliable an epistimology, then perhaps I should throw away the ten years of marriage I have with my wife. It was my feelings for her that have caused me to marry her and spend this time with her. Put simply- I love her. But that is not quantifiable, and pretty much just saying that "My wife and I were meant to be, because I just feel that way."

Religious belief is not the same as fact issues tried before a court, so of course I have no problem using a different standard for spiritual issues.

I am not trying to make you believe the same way I do, so if I want to rely on my feelings to inform my religious belief, how does that affect you?

Wry Catcher: I am a man so I am inherently unqualified to discuss how women feel in the Church. But I would argue that any woman in an abusive relationship is not in a safe place, whether in or out of the Church. I would guess that the proportion of women in abusive relationships within the church is roughly the same (though I would hope it to be less) as those in abusive relationships outside of the Church. It's a real problem in society at large.

Jordan F.

JV: I don't remember having claimed some revelation from the Holy Ghost contrary to Doug's. Nor could I- spiritual feelings are inherently personal. I merely claimed that I also get spiritual feelings, as Doug claims to.

I did say that my interpretation of certain things was different from Doug's. I'm not sure why you think that has to do with the Holy Ghost.

Mayan Elephant

jordan,

there is some nuanced consistency to you. that is fo shizzle.

i do think, based on this and other posts, that you sincerely would recommend that a woman in an abusive relationship should leave the relationship. its not so simple, but i think you would be open to a separation.

though, that leaves open the debate - what is abusive? while it is not comprehensive, perhaps we can at least agree on an abusive relationship being one where the woman "feels" abused. and another example, that being one where a parent "feels" that another family member is being abused.

would you suggest a woman leave an abusive spouse? an abusive employer? an abusive neighborhood? an abusive boyfriend?

what about an abusive church?

see jordan, there are millions of people that "feel" abused by the church. there are millions that feel that their loved ones are abused by this church.

sometimes they can get out smoothly. sometimes they cant. its not so simple ya know.

i do think you have more sympathy for the individual than the institution, in general. though, in this case where the institution is the church, and the stakes are high, there is some benefit in deflecting the criticism and holding the institution and its leaders out as "true" (what an effed up term, true) or inspired, or sacred, or godly or jesusly, or whatever. considering the church to be perfect minimizes the internal hypocrisy of excepting this particular institution from the abuse/leave standard.

-Domokun-

Jordan, I agree with you that some things are best left to feelings. Like you, I love my wife, and even though an analysis could be done on how we have economically and socially benefitted from being married to each other, it really comes down to how we feel about each other. Love can't be objectively proven.

The problem is that while feelings can inform our decisions in some areas, they are not the most reliable indicator of truth in other areas. Things that can be proven by existential evidence, for example. You can't prove or disprove in a court of law that I love my wife. But there are many things that rational, objective evidence can prove.

I agree that it's impossible to argue either for or against the statement, "I feel that God exists and loves me." And, I have no problem with someone making such a claim. The problem comes when someone essentially says, "I feel that God told me X, and that you must live it, too, otherwise God told me you will go to hell/not be with your family forever/are a bad person/must be stoned to death right now." It just turns out that many of mormonism's (and most organized religion's) claims about God fall into the same type of thing that tries to exert control over others, like in my second example, and not a genuine profession of belief, like in my first example.

Jordan F.

Well, like I said, I can only speak for my feelings. And my feelings are not about controlling how others live, but about how I live my own life. I can make suggestions to others, but I can't make them do anything. I only know what has worked for me.

Perhaps that's why I tend to lean libertarian in many issues.

And ME makes a good point about the term "true"- it is a pretty messed up term.

I think ME might appreciate the poetry of Paul Celan, who often wrote about how messed up certain terms in language are. Of course, he was more lamenting the fact that the Nazis ruined the German language (hmmm, have I now initiated Godwin's Rule???), a language he dearly loved, than anything. But the word "truth" has certainly been abused over and over again in our language (and many others). Not sure what to do about that...

Mayan Elephant

Domo, how many bowls would it take to actually get stoned to death? is that even possible?

jordan,

damn if this topic isnt as fascinating as it could possibly be. i really am digging it.

i often wonder what family conversations would be like if the feelings and comfort of others really was mutally respected among those with the multi-generation ties to mormonism, like most of us on this thread.

if your parents respected your feelings, and did so sincerely, would you be able to worship at domo's church of buzzgreenbeltriding on any given sunday, without consequence? would you be as welcome to discuss this topic at a family reunion as you are welcome and invited to discuss it here? now, you may not want to start any of this up at doug's family party, but that is another topic.

i think only the "best of feelings" are allowed in the 'family' circle. and by best, i mean the ones you were told to have, not the ones you may actually have.

Mayan Elephant

ill look into this celan character. what would he say about boyd packer?

Jordan F.

In my experience, most families are not ideal. Most kids can't talk to their parents about any number of things. Most parents unfairly judge their offspring (and I might add that most offspring unfairly judge their parents). It is a multi-generational plague that affects families universally, regardless of religious belief. I know I have felt it in my own family.

I hope the family I raise will be more ideal, but who knows. I will do my best.

Randy

"True" and "truth" are elusive terms, for sure. I was shooting the shit with one day with my now-retired supervisor, and I mentioned that a sister-in-law had denounced her local LDS ward (in a rough part of Richmond, Virginia), saying that she was comforted to have "the true gospel" (she is from Utah). My supervisor quoted Pilate's words to Jesus, "what is truth?" We then had a lengthy conversation about the definiation of "truth." I suppose that a common definition of "abuse" also would help in this discussion, but that, too, is an elusive term. But, unlike "truth," I know abuse when I see it. Or at least I think I do.

Mayan Elephant

wow jordan. welcome to the life of a mayan elephant, circa 2005.

as the wise jack handley once said, "the face of a child can say a lot. especially the mouth part of that face."

going to church really isnt that hard. and even playing by the rules aint that hard. it can be rationalized and tolerated through various strategies. but, asking a child to suck that shit into the brain, and try to spin it in a way that will make them more spiritual, honest, hopeful, aware and successful - that aint gonna work. my kids said some crazy stuff after church on some days. criminy. couldnt take it any longer.

would you have your daughter read dougs comments on here? i wouldnt. so why would i take her to a church where she could here it and be told that if she has a good feeling at church, then that message must be true. couldnt do it any longer man. no mas.

didnt johnny cash say something a breaking that cage and running, or something like that? he said some cool stuff, i think he was my prophet. i had to run. and it was little girl that finally pushed me away from those cinder block walls, chair rails and sunday headaches.

Mayan Elephant

Randy,

i know oyster po boys are true. that should be the standard. if it looks that good, and tastes that good, and leaves you feeling good. it must be true.

the church aint no oyster po boy.

Doug Towers

In regard the girl of 14 I knew her well.

In one court case a teacher of a victims testified that the victim had been "a happy-go-lucky girl" up until a particular year when he started to note her suddenly change and become unable to do school work etc. The interesting irony is that it was during the happy-go-lucky time that the abuse was supposed to be occurring. So how does that work?

You seem to all wish to keep your heads well buried in the sand on this issue.

Some talk of personal experiences with extended families. I also am in this position. It is crack-pot concepts about telling these young people that they are completely blameless which is not allowing someone close to me to move on. And I am left watching it ruin her life. So to me you all have little idea of such things. But you obviously all think you are very cleaver on this subject. It appears to me that Brother Scott is smarter than you all put together. Because his mind could see the simple and obvious.

I, again, support Jordan F in regard claims of conflicting inspiration. He has said that he receives inspiration that particular things stated at conference are true. And I have stated that the Holy Ghost has told me the things women are better at than men, and the things men are better at than women.

How does this conflict?

I'm also curious as to how this makes women inferior?

Jordan F.

Doug:

Perhaps that is true of the women in your own life? I, for one, know that my wife is a much more organized person than I am, and better suited to leadership. But the Holy Ghost did not tell me that- it was based on my own observations.

I also happen to observe that in most wards I have lived in, the Relief Society President kicks the Elder's Quorum President's butt in terms of organization and leadership. This phenomenon is so common throughout the Church that it is actually lampooned in one of those silly Utah movies- the RM or something- where they show contrasting scenes from Relief Society and Elder's Quorum. The sisters are organized and have a nice centerpiece, nice music, etc., while the Elders are just reading from the manual.

What does it mean, then, that Relief Societies, based on my anecdotal experience, tend to be better run and organized than most Elder's Quorums?

To me, it means that men are perhaps not innately better suited to leadership and organization.

Doug, Alma said that we should be "bold, but not overbearing." Perhaps you have forgotten the last part of Alma's counsel.

Equality

Jordan,

I think that was in the "Home Teachers." Starts out with the guy in EQ and they are all just droning on from the manual. He looks at the clock and it actually starts moving backward. As soon as class is over he sprints out, grabs the kids from class and darts into the prettily appointed RS room where the women are still having their lesson. As Homer would say: "it's funny because it's true."

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