When we summarize the story of Alma at the Waters of Mormon we think of the community of Saints who were desirous to bear one another’s burdens, willing to mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. They desired to be called the people of God.
This was a radically supportive community considering the political atmosphere that surrounded them during the time of Alma.
This band of souls who gathered at the Waters of Mormon lived in an enclave nation surrounded by a people who desired to harm and enslave them. They lived in continual tension with their neighbors. Their King, King Noah, had pillaged the poor to fund the government’s laziness, idolatry, and whoredoms. Additionally, King Noah’s example “did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord.” Mosiah 11:2
These were refugees, and considering the tensions and fears of their homeland, it is no wonder that they “clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts” upon being invited to join this new supportive community at the Waters of Mormon.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.
Naomi Ward Randall, 1908–2001
Last week I was out on my back patio enjoying some sunshine in our 70 degree weather, because that is what you do in Phoenix in December. I felt it time to listen to John Dehlin’s Mormons Stories Podcast where he interviewed Tom Christofferson about his book “That We May Be One.”
The interview was typical Mormon Stories Podcast format: Tell your story and then answer contemporary and relevant questions drawn from wisdom gained from your story. For me, I enjoyed his story and it was a disarming and refreshing experience listening to his conclusions and insights on such things as the Proclamation on the Family, the effects of the exclusion policy on the church, did he think same sex relationships and marriage were equal to opposite sex relationships and marriage, and his theology on LGBTQ in the plan of salvation. There really were no softball questions and John discussed subjects with Tom that have been wounding the LDS LGBTQ community for a long time. Continue reading
Tonight an era has ended.
The President of the Church who presided over Prop 8 and then gave us the exclusion policy has died. These are some pretty hefty bookends holding together his 10 year ministry. As an LDS LGBTQ, I acknowledge the good President Monson did as president while grappling with the personal pain he caused me, my family, and so many of my fellow LDS LGBTQ. If anything, he brought the LDS LGBTQ issue front and center for the church to see in full daylight. Continue reading
Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission – to be of service to them whenever they require it.
St. Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226
Today I am not hearing a voice so necessary to the policy conversation. So I am supplying it. I am a November 5th refugee. The November policy instantly created refugees. As refugees we have no privilege in the church, although we used to be dripping in it. As refugees we used to have a home among the saints, although now we are gathered in camps along the outskirts and borders. As refugees we once felt safety in the stakes of Zion but now live with the continual threat of spiritual terrorism.
Like most refugee situations, you never really hear about life in the camps. It is a much more rewarding and universal experience to talk about the conflict that created the refugee in the first place, but not many stop to consider the actual conditions of the refugees born from such conflict. Continue reading
The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals. Our local leaders must deal with all three of them with ever-increasing frequency. In each case, the members who are hurting have the conviction that the Church somehow is doing something wrong to members or that the Church is not doing enough for them.
Boyd K. Packer, May 18th 1993
It has been 24 years since Boyd K. Packer identified his three dangers of the church. Today we are beyond an “ever increasing frequency” of those who are hurting. We are witnessing a Niagara Falls of those who are hurting and it is morally unfair to villainize gays, women, and intellectuals as the cause.
The time is now to stop blaming the wounded and the weary. Continue reading
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
St. Matthew 21:12-13
During the Feast of the Passover, Jews came to the temple in Jerusalem from every corner of civilization to offer sacrifice as commanded by the law of Moses. (Deuteronomy 16:16)
Normally the business of money changing and buying of sacrificial animals took place in the Royal Stoa above the southern wall. However, because of the sheer number of people coming to offer sacrifice during the high holidays, such as the Passover when Jesus visited the temple, the market would spill over from the Royal Stoa into the holy area. It was because of this that Jesus observed His Father’s house had become a house of merchandise. (John 2:16) Continue reading