Behold, Here are the Waters of Mormon

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.

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Confused At the Grace That So Fully He Proffers Me

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

Out of Obscurity

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Thomas Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks at the 181st Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. Mormons from around the world have gathered to listen to church leaders during the two-day conference. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

 

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

I am a Refugee: A Letter from the Camps

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

Today’s Heretics are Tomorrow’s Saints

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

A Den of Thieves: The LDS LGBTQ+ Story as Currency

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

Forgiveness at 112 Degrees

It has been record setting hot in Arizona this past week. Pictures flooded the internet of street signs melting and eggs frying on the sidewalk. This also happened to be the week my daughter was married.

The Monday before her wedding, she sent me a text:

“Just so you know, we are having a barbecue Friday night for all the family and friends who came into town… It’s at 6:45 at our house if you and your family want to come.”

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Mormon Women Left Holding the Bag as Men Abandon Scouting

On Thursday the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints announced that it was eliminating the Boy Scouts of America’s Varsity and Venturing programs for all young men ages 14-17 in the United States and Canada. Many observers of Scouting anticipate that this is a prelude to a complete disassociation from the BSA in the coming years. Some believe that this announcement is a non-issue because the Varsity and Venturing programs were already in shambles, so this was just a formal acknowledgement of this reality.

Regardless of the reasons, this announcement (suspiciously given just days before Mother’s Day) has major implications for the women of the church. Continue reading

A New Age is Upon Us

The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost; for none now live who remember it.

Galadriel, “The Lord of the Rings”

I still remember my very first pep rally as a freshman at Orem High in 1982.

In the middle of the day the entire school emptied into the gym where we assembled together in the bleachers by graduating class. Suddenly at the cue of the cheerleaders the senior class started chanting to the drums, “Eighty three! Eighty three! Eighty, eighty, eighty, eighty, eighty three!” Then they pointed to the next class who followed even louder, “Eighty four! Eighty four! Eighty, eighty, eighty, eighty, eighty four!”

The excitement was contagious and we realized as freshman we would soon get a chance to show our class pride. As we yelled our ‘86 chant as loud as we could the gym erupted into laughter. We were freshmen and our voices were still high and almost childlike compared to the others. But we didn’t care!

The classes continued round and around each chanting their graduating class year. Each time we shouted even louder until at last the Orem High tiger mascot finally pointed to the winning class who showed the most spirit. It was here I learned to be proud to be Class of ’86!

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April 2017 Ensign: The Gays Are Not the Only Ones in Counterfeit Marriages and One Man/One Woman Marriages Are Not the Only Genuine Marriages Ordained of God

In a stunning turn of events, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints publicly endorsed polygamy as genuine marriage and called all civil marriages counterfeit marriage in the April 2017 Ensign.

For perhaps the first time since the second Manifesto, the Church has openly endorsed polygamy as only one of two genuine forms of marriage. Continue reading