I may choose to ignore people who comment anonymously. I choose never to be anonymous online myself. I have little tolerance for this behavior.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Meet the Mormons: A Slick Piece?

Many people actually seem offended that Meet the Mormons is a slick, well done movie. What were they expecting, a low-budget, amateurish embarrassment?

Don't they realize how long Mormons have been making movies? Apparently not.

With our own motion picture studio, a plethora of movie makers, equipment and technical expertise, it better be good.

So many of the reviews and analyses seem offended that it is a well made movie. Why? Is this somehow uncouth for a religion, to produce a well made film?

Are followers of Christ somehow cheapened if they are good filmmakers?

Maybe we are just too used to films of faith being movies of mediocrity.

Well, get used to it world. We Mormons are just getting started...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Camper, Coffee and Kid Dilemma


Should a Camp Counselor Stop a Student From Trying Coffee?


This small piece appeared in the ethics column of the New York Times. I'm not comfortable with the ethicist's advice.

I agree that camp staff shouldn't serve or press coffee on a camper whose parents have listed it as "dietary restrictions. However, they should not substitute their judgment for the parents if the child is still under legal age. In other words, they should not be deciding whether this kid is old enough to handle a decision to drink coffee either. The kid is still legally a kid and his parents have ultimate jurisdiction.

The camp staff and ethicist are too willing to decide this question on the merits, when it isn't really their decision to make. I suspect if they were Mormon and it was their kids, they would be enraged if camp staff decided to set aside their guidelines when it came to their own kid.

The child should have notified his parents, not camp staff that he was drinking coffee. But, if camp staff know, they have a moral and legal obligation to inform the parents as to what happened because they know it is a dietary restriction.

Camp staff or the ethicists shouldn't be deciding what are, and what are not "esoteric dictates."

Monday, October 6, 2014

Momentous Moment for Mormanity? Not...

I have a momentous announcement...

I actually watched the Priesthood session of General Conference on October 4, 2014 at 8 pm eastern time. This is destined to go down in history. In fact, I watched it with my very own husband, sitting on our very own couch, in our very own home, on our very own television, that was streamed from our very own Internet access on our very own computer.

The importance of this event may be difficult for you to comprehend. This momentous step for Mormanity is far superior to individually wrapped cheese slices, although some may disagree.

This experience far surpasses any experience attending the satellite broadcast at a meetinghouse around the world because I was able to adjust the VOLUME. How neat is that! In fact, I elevated my feet and was able to exit for bathroom breaks at regular, and needed, intervals.

I tear up as I contemplate this event, even now. I'm sure I'll continue to get emotional as I digest the ramifications this has for my life and my membership in the Church...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sample Letter to Make Ward and Stake Leaders Mad At You

Stake/Ward Relief Society Leaders,

When I gave my presentation this past Tuesday in my ward Relief Society meeting, it was referred to as an "Enrichment" meeting. Today in Sacrament Meeting, during the announcements, another Relief Society Enrichment meeting in the future was referred to and announced.

I find this astonishing. The Home, Family and Personal Enrichment program ended in 2009.

See current Handbook Guidance 9.4.2 as well as the video entitled Additional Relief Society Meetings from the Church's Leadership Training Library.

Guidance from church headquarters is clear in that all meetings should simply be referred to as Relief Society meetings. Meetings that occur outside of Sunday worship, should be referred to as additional Relief Society meetings.

Since Sister *** (the Stake Relief Society President) was also in attendance in Sacrament meeting and must have heard the announcements, I trust this will be corrected.

Sincerely,
Krista Cook

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Missionaries, iPad Minis and More...

I've been thinking about missionaries getting equipped with iPad Minis. I know this will significantly affect how they go about missionary work. It also got me thinking as well.

Consider the following implications:

- missionaries travel all across the ward boundaries.
- missionaries constantly visit members, inactive and otherwise.
- missionaries are now equipped digitally.
- missionaries will be spending at least some time at the chapel, almost daily.

What implications does this have? Can't you guess?

Missionaries could easily be conscripted to work as assistant ward clerks in charge of membership. At the very least, they should work closely with whomever has jurisdiction over entering, changing and updating ward membership.

Consider that even if an inactive is resisting returning, missionaries could at least use the excuse to make sure their membership and contact information is correctly entered into the online directory.

They could even explain to members how they can get online, update their own information and either hide or obscure some of their contact preferences like phone number and email.

Am I the only one that sees these possibilities?

Perhaps they could even take pictures that could be uploaded to the directory.

For years I've thought people would be more apt to return if they could access directories, calendars, lesson schedules and newsletters in order to find out what is going on at church. It could help them ease back into activity.

Missionaries could do so much if the Church, Mission and local leadership/members would let them.

What do you think? Am I on the right track or am I totally off of it? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Get Rid of Them Spirits!

In my role as the lds.about.com site expert. I just published the following:

The Mormon Take on Ghosts and Hauntings

I hope you all find it interesting.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I'll Grant Mormon Feminists One Point: The Primary Voice

I never had a label for it, until now. Mormon feminists call it: The Primary Voice. It's the superficial, artificially high, nicey nice, fake voice many Mormon women use when speaking to children and, unfortunately, almost everyone else.

When I hear it, the speaker loses massive credibility points with me. It seems the antithesis of intelligence or substance. Of course, the opposite voice can get you labeled as an obnoxious bitch. Frankly, I'll take that risk.

Some women leaders conspicuously lack this voice. Here's the short list:
Sheri Dew was such a breath of fresh air. We've never had anyone like her before or since, at least in my view. Mary Ellen Smoot also makes my list. She said tough and courageous things but got a little overshadowed by Dew. Smoot had the sense to make Dew one of her counselors though. She deserves a lot of credit. (Who was the other counselor? Can't remember, she never made much of an impression on me.)

Julie Beck also said tough and courageous things. She took some abuse for it though. I think it made her careful. Careful is okay.

Bonnie Oscarson also gets high points. Her no nonsense approach and plain speaking is also refreshing. I look forward to hearing her and reading her more in the future.

I don't have strong opinions about other female leaders. I'm sure they are fine women. I just wish I could see more than a smiley face.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Don't Ask the Question if You Don't Want to Hear the Answer!

My Bishop called me a liar tonight. Oh, not in those words. He dismissed my answers to his questions because I told him that neither ward units or the stake should be using Facebook, or any other web site for official purposes.

Where's the ambiguity in the following passages:

Official Church Internet Resources  21.1.22

The Church provides a number of official Web sites and other Internet resources for general use. These sites and resources are clearly identified as official either by the use of the Church logo or in some other way. They also comply with legal requirements and the Church’s intellectual property and privacy policies.

Stake and ward Web sites may be created only by using the official Church Internet resources. Stakes and wards are not authorized to create other Web sites or blogs or otherwise have a Church-sponsored presence on the Internet.
He countered with the information that, since the Stake President is doing it, then it must be okay. That's good enough for him. Also, he pointed out that the Church has a Facebook presence, so it must be okay if the stake does too.

I told him special web sites can only be set up under Church authorization and approval. He didn't want to hear that either. Also from 21.1.22:
On occasion, official Church Web sites may be approved for other purposes, such as multistake projects, special events, and young single adult activities and organization. To seek approval for such a site, the organization’s priesthood leader submits a request stating the purpose and need to a member of the Presidency of the Seventy or the Area Presidency.


Apparently, the mission we are in also has a Facebook page. I don't find any ambiguity in the concluding sentence of 21.1.22 in the Handbook:
Temples, missions, and visitors’ centers are not authorized to create Web sites.
What makes leaders think they can just ignore these instructions in the Handbook? You'd think they would be more careful, since everyone online has access to it. If you disobey Handbook instructions, everyone can and will know.

As the Ward Website Administrator, why won't anyone listen to me? It's part of my calling to know these sorts of things.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

(Jabari) Parker's Process

Many Mormons and Non-Mormons are busy analyzing Jabari Parker's decision to leave Duke, bypass a LDS mission and enter the NBA.

I'm not interested in his decision. I'm interested in his decision process. This recent New York Times article provides us with the following clues from these quotes:

Parker declined to be interviewed for this article, but his bishop, Eddie Blount, said Parker had been seriously considering a mission. Parker was a regular and active participant in church meetings, but he saw the N.B.A. as an opportunity that was good for him and for the church, Blount said.
When Parker declared himself eligible for the draft in an article in Sports Illustrated in April, he made clear how difficult the mission decision was for him.
“I’ve been weighing this question for the past two years,” Parker wrote. “After talking with my family, my local church leaders and a couple close friends, I’m at peace with my decision to forgo a mission for now and join the N.B.A. I don’t consider myself an exception to the rule. At this point in my life I know this is the right decision.”

You and I have no business analyzing his decision. However, we can analyze his process. Two years of thought and reflection suggests it wasn't made in haste. Many people were included in the process, including church leaders and family members. I think we can infer that prayer played a part as well.

This is as it should be. Sometimes we forget that part of decision making in this life is learning how to conduct a good decision making process. I, for one, applaud his moral decision making process.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Forcing God's Agenda

In Alma, chapter 20, there is a wonderful story where Ammon, a Nephite by birth, is instructed by Heavenly Father to avoid the land of Nephi, because the King will want to kill him. Verse 2 reads:
And the voice of the Lord came to Ammon, saying: Thou shalt not go up to the land of Nephi, for behold, the king will seek thy life; but thou shalt go to the land of Middoni; for behold, thy brother Aaron, and also Muloki and Ammah are in prison.
Strangely enough, while traveling to Middoni, they meet up with the King anyway, and he still seeks Ammon's life. Verse 8 reads:
And it came to pass that as Ammon and Lamoni were journeying thither, they met the father of Lamoni, who was king over all the land.
However, Ammon has the upper-hand in this encounter and the King ends up pleading for his own life. Ammon grants it under certain conditions, all beneficial to the work of Heavenly Father.

My point in all of this is that timing is important. What's more, Heavenly Father is uniquely qualified to determine when the timing is right.


With our limited knowledge and vision, we are spectacularly unqualified to determine the best timing to implement Heavenly Father's agenda or to know the details of His agenda or the order in His agenda items.

We have no business forcing His agenda in any way.

If women receive the priesthood, it will be in Heavenly Father's way and on His own timescale. Until that occurs, it is not our business, whether we be male or female.

When, or if, the time is right, the change will come through His authorized servants and through His authorized channels.

What is left up to us? Being righteous and worthy to receive it and use it, should the time ever come.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Finally, A Line

Many were surprised when Kate Kelly was excommunicated. I wasn't.

Her actions and behavior left her church leaders with little choice.

In fact, the only thing that surprised me at all is why it took so long.

Her actions, and some other things that have been happening, made me wonder where the Church was going to draw the line, or if a line even existed anymore.

I'm old enough to remember a lot of other excommunicants and their circumstances. I don't see where Kate Kelly's activities were fundamentally any different from theirs.

The Church drew the line where it has always drawn the line.

If this excommunication surprised you, perhaps you need to examine some of your beliefs and see if there is some disordered thinking in your head somewhere.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Divisive and Suggestive of Apostasy. Well Said!


The Church issued a really classy reply to feminist agitation on being left out of certain dialogues taking place between LDS women and Public Affairs:
Yet there are a few people with whom Public Affairs and General Authorities do not engage, such as individuals or groups who make non-negotiable demands for doctrinal changes that the Church can’t possibly accept. No matter what the intent, such demands come across as divisive and suggestive of apostasy rather than encouraging conversation through love and inclusion. Ultimately, those kinds of actions can only result in disappointment and heartache for those involved.
Non-negotiable demands. That couldn't mean women want the priesthood or else could it? An ultimatum. Hmm. What scripture stories we have of individuals making ultimatums to God or Church leaders do not end well.

For these demands to end well, the requesting party has to be willing to take "No" for an answer. Are they? It seems not. They keep demanding. Hmm. This sounds like Martin Harris asking Joseph to ask Heavenly Father two and three more times when he didn't like God's answer that Joseph relayed back to him. That whole thing did not end well...

Also, aren't we taught not to covet? That's pretty basic. It's in the 10 Commandments. We should be content with what God has allotted to us.

The whole situation reeks of questionable tactics. For example, just because someone's, or a group's intent, is good does not mean that their actions are. We tend to judge ourselves by out intent and other people on their actions.

I don't much care for the group's tactics or their stated intents, which don't seem to square with their words. Their goals are at odds with revealed doctrine and their tactics are straight out of the 60s civil rights period. Whine and complain when you don't get what you want. Seek to constantly draw attention to yourself and your particular goal when all Mormons are seeking the words of prophets and guidance from them.

This might be okay if the issue was civil rights, but it isn't. The priesthood isn't a right. It's a responsibility. Besides, spiritual power of leaders doesn't flow up through the people like it does in a democracy. Spiritual power and authority flows down from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Political pressure by members on leaders in the hope to effect change is misguided. They should be praying their hearts out to the real decision maker, Heavenly Father. And, if that doesn't work, they should abandon their quest.

I agree with Church PR. these actions "can only result in disappointment and heartache for those involved."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How to Corrupt Church: A Relief Society Example

What follows is a conglomeration of tactics used at a variety of all the Relief Society meetings I've attended, anywhere I've been whether I was a member of the ward or not. Keep in mind that I'm not advocating these tactics, simply illustrating them. FYI: I don't know exactly how many wards I've been a member of. The number is somewhere between 35 and 50.

Be so disorganized that you start really late. Ignore the prescribed time between Sunday School and Relief Society and extend it out as much as you can. Being disorganized and scattered is a real help. The later you start the meeting, the less you will have to do.

Make certain you don't conduct opening exercises properly. We are told it should be organized and brief. If you are disorganized and long winded; you can fill up a lot of minutes without saying much of anything, or anything useful.

Never address sisters by name. Simply assume that everyone knows everyone and you must be an idiot if you don't know Sister Smith, who is the daughter of Sister Jones, who is a cousin to Sister Brown, who has been in the ward for at least 40 years.

Clutter up the weeks with craft activities and social events, if you have any Relief Society events at all. Just because the motto has always been, "Charity Never Faileth" doesn't mean it hasn't failed in your ward. Who says you should serve people, render aid or any other type of relief. Church should be fun, for you!

Make sure you announce, and then cancel, a lot of events. Sisters need to understand that nothing can be relied upon and you frequently fail to follow through with anything.

Mess up the music. Never know if you have anyone who can play the piano, actually in attendance. Waste time by asking if anyone knows how to play. 

If you are forced to use recorded music, never master your equipment. It wastes more time if you mess around with it, trying to get it to work properly. The possibilities are endless here. If you have to sing without it, you can only sing one verse a cappella and you'll end up with time on your hands.

Several musical false starts with the equipment can ensure the audience feels frustrated and jangled.

Don't put announcements anywhere, especially online or in the bulletin. This way you can rehearse them all verbally and waste more time. This technique has the added benefit of allowing you to get a lot of facts wrong, like the date, time or something of similar importance.

No one in the audience will be able to remember anything or have time to write it down, insuring they will not attend and you won't have to be bothered with them. This also prevents everyone not in actual physical attendance from ever knowing about anything.

Inject constant comments into the proceedings, especially if you think they are funny. This ensures that anyone trying to speak is interrupted constantly, the spirit cannot be felt, and you have drawn sufficient attention to yourself. After all, you are number one, aren't you!

Send multiple clip boards and signup sheets around to all the sisters, the more the better. You want them to be confused and distracted from what's going on up front.

Relief Society means you make crafty thingys. Make sure all available surfaces and wall spaces are covered with them. You want people to have as many visual distractions as possible. You wouldn't want them actually concentrating on the lesson or other highly relevant things, like feeling the spirit.

Be sure and squeeze the actual lesson time down to around 20 minutes or less. Really corrupt wards can eliminate it entirely, by declaring that there is no time for it. Since a good teacher would have prepared 30-40 minutes of lesson material, she will be disheartened by having her preparation rendered futile, ensuring she will be unhappy and resentful in her calling.

Encourage other sisters to hijack the lesson away from the teacher, so that irrelevant tangents can be pursued. Better yet, if you are leadership, hijack it yourself. Pontificate so that everyone knows that your opinion is the most important one in the room. You are leadership, after all.

Make sure teachers are poorly trained. This way they cover very little of the actual lesson and try to cram in everything, including the kitchen sink, in the last few minutes and not have time for the important issues.

It's an added plus if they go overtime. because then children will open and close the doors. trying to see if the meeting is over while increasing pandemonium. There is the added benefit that you can simply dispense with any closing hymn by declaring that time is gone. If you haven't done your job well, you might be forced to sing one verse of the closing hymn and we don't want that happening.

Make sure older sisters visit other older sisters and younger sisters visit younger sisters. If anyone actually does their visiting teaching, this will ensure they only get acquainted with a limited number of sisters their age.

Well, you may want to delay constructing visiting teaching assignments at all. You can wait six months at least. It will reduce your workload and people will move out, never having visiting teachers or being visiting teachers. This is especially likely with young adults who are highly mobile.

Treat younger sisters as visitors to Relief Society, instead of as equal sisters. The young should respect their elders, which means the young don't deserve any respect from their elders. Keeping young people alienated from people, events and especially participation will help them feel marginalized.

Don't just ignore the Handbook, treat it as thought it couldn't possibly have any useful or relevant guidance and others will learn to do the same.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What We Think Isn't What We Should Know and Other Reflections on Mormon Violence

In political science I was taught that peace is more than the absence of war. I would add that war is more than strong rhetoric and there was plenty of rhetoric in the early church and on the frontier. Most of the rhetoric from that time period would sound harsh to modern ears, especially those tempered by current ideas of tolerance.

The new topic page on lds.org entitled, "Peace and Violence among 19th-Century Latter-day Saints," addresses violence against Mormons, as well as violence by Mormons. I like it. It said things I had long since assumed.

For example, I figured the Danites probably existed; but their numbers, activities and importance was probably exaggerated, especially by Sampson Avard.

At the Latter-day Saint settlement of Far West, some leaders and members organized a paramilitary group known as the Danites, whose objective was to defend the community against dissident and excommunicated Latter-day Saints as well as other Missourians. Historians generally concur that Joseph Smith approved of the Danites but that he probably was not briefed on all their plans and likely did not sanction the full range of their activities.
Entities such as the Danites probably organized with worthy ideals, but quickly degenerated into lawlessness and a sort of twisted vigilante justice. It's very difficult to morally control the masses, once they get out of hand. I only bet on the highly moral, thinking individuals to maintain their ideals.

The notion that this Danite organization continues to our modern day, in secret, and is controlled by the First Presidency has always been absurd. Robert Kirby's observations are insightful:
If the First Presidency really does maintain a secret Danite squad, how come I'm still here? More importantly, why haven't I been asked to serve on it?
Kirby further points out that after years of lampooning the church, while remaining a member:
...[A]ll I ever get is pissy feedback telling me that I'm going to hell. Nobody ever actually tries to send me there.
As I look around our modern world and analyze the news and commentary that surround us, I can't help but reflect. We can't agree about what's happening in our world now, let alone why it's happening. Why do we think that shining a magnifying glass on fragmentary evidence from the past will give us a complete picture of history?

Historians, along with everyone else, keep looking at correspondence, directives, news articles and other so-called objective evidence to decide the questions that darken our LDS history.

I don't think this will help. Whether or not Brigham Young ordered the Mountain Meadows Massacre is irrelevant. (For the record, I don't think he did and no one can prove it one way or the other.) The real question in understanding this tragedy is whether the perpetrators thought he did, or if they thought he would have if he knew what they thought they knew.

People act on their imperfect beliefs and their imperfect knowledge, rather than objective evidence. Historians study objective evidence, what there is of it, and it can't prove anything. Historians can't get into people's heads and that's where the real evidence is. They can only study other stuff and the other stuff isn't that helpful.

I'm glad we have historians and that they study history. Just don't expect me to swallow it all.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pray, You Idiot!

Religion was infused into my high school sports life. As I think back, this was totally unfair. Here's how the exchange went on the day I was personally, and directly, affected:

We were in the locker room before the volleyball game was set to start. Coach had just finished giving us our customary pep talk. Suddenly her gaze fell on me and she said,

Coach: Krista, you're on.

Me: (innocently) I'm on what?

Coach: PRAY, YOU IDIOT!

Me: Yes Ma'am (I dutifully prayed.)

Although the ACLU may get it's panties in a wad over this incident, this was probably the least objectionable comment uttered by my coach. Her method of motivation was criticism, constant lecturing and yelling.

Not even remotely a religious person, I suspect that praying wasn't her idea either. It was probably customary for the times.

Since almost everybody in my high school was LDS, most of the prayers were Mormon prayers. However, we hit on a solution that worked out well and that I've not seen implemented anywhere else.

We had the Buddhist kids pray.

They would give a nice little non-denominational prayer that pleased everyone and offended no one. Some might not even consider it a prayer. However, it was prayer enough for most people and not-prayer enough for the others. What's more, it never hurt anyone.

My point? I don't have one exactly, but I'm sure there's a point in here somewhere...

Friday, May 2, 2014

Paunchy, Balding, Near-sighted and Thoroughly Normal...

I hesitate to bring this up, but not because I'm afraid of the subject.

I am afraid to use the term. If I use it this post won't come up on Google searches, if the SafeSearch feature is turned on, like it is on my computer.

Okay, then veiled references will have to do.

Are Mormon women unduly conscious of their physical appearance and taking serious steps to augment it?

Yikes! I've given it away.

Okay, perhaps I need to take another brave step into the unknown and admit that I am highly disturbed by... the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

You may not think these topics are related, but they are. The women in Choir look, forgive me, fake. It is difficult to find even a handful of women that:

  • Have not obviously dyed their hair.
  • Do not have excessive makeup, especially eye makeup.
  • Do not appear to have had face lifts.
  • Are not obviously trying to look younger than they are.

High definition television is revealing and the above have bothered me for some time. The men look okay. They look like men -- paunchy, balding, near-sighted and thoroughly normal.

I hadn't thought to conduct my physical evaluation of female Choir participants below neck level.

Utah is my home state and I will always love it, but I think people there are preoccupied with looks, especially the women.

When I headed east to pursue education, I was astonished at the couples I saw on campus. I thought to myself, "That girl wouldn't be able to get a date in Utah. She's not cute enough."

I also learned something else. Women in locales with higher humidity cannot cover all their blemishes with makeup. They would melt.

It is easy to look good in Utah. The dry air preserves makeup and hair styles. These are battles I lost in other states. With my age and ill-health, I have given up entirely. However, I could still, um, augment myself in other ways...

Is this...augmentation... actually common in Mormondom? Do I really want an answer? The evidence cited in the article is persuasive. Also, a significant other, who shall remain nameless, thought it was common in Mormondom, long before he met me. Should I have known this? After all, I lived in the state for many many years.

It is only with the rationale found at the bottom of the article that my brain can even entertain the possibility as plausible. Are Mormon women trying to repair what child bearing has done to their bodies? That, I can accept, even if I don't like it.

I worked on my brain when I was younger. I knew that what looks I had would eventually fade and I would need something else to rely on. My body managed to escape child bearing but not necessarily by choice.

What's wrong with looking as natural as the men? What's wrong with other Mormon women looking like me -- paunchy, balding, near-sighted and thoroughly normal?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Don't Count Me As An Extremist!

Am I aware of what the Kelly group does? Yes. Am I going to join them? No. Do I sympathize with them? No. I like the Church's recent response to them and the news coverage that covered it.

This group is loud and increasingly relying on emotion, rather than logic. The following quotes and my responses are below.
It’s true that OW is a small group with an aggressive agenda not supported by the majority of women in the church.
Yes, and not just small, it is extremely small. The statistics prove it. They come from PEW. (See Deseret News graphic from link above).
But if it’s true that Mormon women can seem ordinary and moderate simply for wanting to hold their weeks-old infants in the priesthood circle when those babies are presented to the congregation and given a name and a blessing,
This is not an accurate characterization of what's happening. It is extreme to try and change a standard priesthood ordinance using political pressure. 
or simply for not wanting to start discussing their sexuality with an adult man as soon as they turn 12, or simply for not wanting to expose the details of their sex lives with an all-male tribunal if they commit certain types of transgressions—
Confession is technically required, but entirely voluntary. No one forces them. If they refused to answer any questions, no one would force them to talk.

Personally, I'd rather tell men than women. Where is it proven that women would rather confess to women than men? I certainly don't share this view.

What's more, I'd want help and support in repenting. Heavenly Father has declared this a priesthood job. That is good enough for me. I can certainly tell whatever women I want or even have them accompany me to any priesthood interview. Who said they can't do that? No one.
it is in part because OW has extended so radically the pole of what faithful Mormon women have the courage to ask for.
It is obvious that these women don't speak for all Mormon women, the majority or even very many at all. They shouldn't represent themselves as saying they do.

I get tired of this sort of crap. You know what, I hadn't noticed women had never spoken in General Conference before all the hullabaloo. Why?

I'm not that fixated on gender.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Decision Still Delayed...

See: Decision Delayed: What SHOULD I Do?

Nothing has happened, yet.

I never made a decision and I still don't have a book. However, we just got a new Relief Society President so things might change.

I appreciate the comments made on my earlier post. However, the comment makers attempts to explain this situation are not relevant.

1. The Relief Society President did not have any real rationale for taking back the manual. She explained that it wasn't needed for another month or so and if the sister was still with us then she might give it back to her.

2. The Church has actually instructed wards and branches to only give hard copy manuals out to people who don't use digital media. Since I don't have a tablet I won't have a access to the lessons during church. However, I use digital media extensively at home. So, I am a little torn by whether or not I NEED one.

3. It's not a budget crisis. My ward is incredibly stingy with any resources. The Relief Society President doesn't want anyone using the R.S. room. It's HER room. She mounted a major defense from preventing the Sunday School from meeting in the room for Gospel Doctrine. The Bishop finally prevailed. This isn't unusual for this ward. All the other groups like High Priests and Elders have their own room and they won't let anyone else use them either. Turf and territory wars pop up daily.

Everybody seems constantly engaged in trying to dis-empower other people in whatever way they can. It makes for a pretty dysfunctional ward.

4. The third comment maker has a good point. How I handle this reflects on me. I didn't want to flaunt anything or make a big production out of anything. A holier than thou attitude is not Christlike.

At the end of the day, I still have some real concerns:

1. Units who ignore digital media and/or pretend it doesn't exist are in danger of being out of line with church policy and procedure. These units are increasingly going their own way and doing things exactly how they want with no regard for church guidelines.

2. Mindlessly adopting everything one's predecessor does almost insures people, units, organizations will get out of line. You can't assume what is done in the past was correct or even still relevant. You should first go to the Handbook and all official church instruction and then decide if you will continue with past practices.

3. We need to accept correction. Since this occurred in an official 5th Sunday in front of everyone, I have no qualms about relaying it here. Two members of the Stake Sunday School Presidency were discussing teaching responsibilities and Sunday school in particular.

In response to a question, they instructed teachers to get their own substitute if they could not make it to church to teach their lesson. It was their responsibility. If they couldn't get a substitute, then they were to inform the Sunday School President.

Well, guess who took issue with this? The Sunday School President, no less. He flatly stated it is not his responsibility. They should not inform him, he has more important things to do.

We were all a little aghast at his speech, especially the Stake Sunday School Presidency who didn't seem to really know how to respond to this. What would you do? They tried to correct him but he simply resisted them more.

If you ignore correction, refuse to access any church instructions, guidelines, etc., you can pretty much do whatever you want. You are also playing into Satan's hands and holding the church back.

Who would have thought that my steadfastly insisting that we follow all church guidelines, policy and procedure would set me apart in the church and cause me to be considered a dangerous radical influence?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pat Bagley and The Salt Lake Tribune: How Historical Mistakes Get Made

It is no secret that I have limited respect for historical research and analysis. I'll show you how mistakes get made and perpetuated.

In "Living history: LDS disapproval of alcohol was not always absolute," Pat Bagley makes two errors:
Grant never forgot or forgave the rogue Utah Legislature that very publicly thumbed its nose at his wishes and repealed prohibition in 1933.
Why is this obviously an error? Two reasons. First, a state ratifying convention was used to repeal prohibition, not state legislatures. This makes the 21st Amendment unique. This is the only time that method for ratifying amendments to the Constitution was ever used. The Amendment is also unique in that it is the only amendment that appealed a prior amendment.

Second, Heber J. Grant aimed his criticism at the LDS people, not Utah's legislature as I documented in a prior posting. So, in one sentence, Bagley makes two historical errors.

I don't think I'm going to read Mr. Bagley anymore. It is obvious, he isn't very careful. Perhaps he should stick with cartooning.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Decision Delayed: What SHOULD I Do?

Church was canceled the first Sunday of January because of the monster snow and cold that hit the Midwest and other areas. Because of extreme sickness we've missed the last two Sundays.

This has served to delay my decision.

I can't decide how stupendous it is or how important or even what I should do.

My ward Relief Society will give me a Joseph Fielding Smith manual, however, I have to SIGN for it. Yup, sign for it. Otherwise, I can't have one.

I'm not certain how this bizarre practice got started but the rationale is that sisters lose their manual and ask for another one. Well, they can't have one, can they! We'll show them their signature of the first one they received and they will just have to lump it if they don't like it.

This policy is enforced.

In fact, the Relief Society president loaned a manual to an investigator sister I was sitting by last year. After Relief Society was over, she came and took it back. If you aren't a member, apparently you don't deserve one either. Me and the senior sister missionary sitting on the other side of this hapless investigator were both mortified.

I have a fundamental problem with all this.

When I was teaching Gospel Principles the only extra manuals to be had were in the library. The librarian told me they were strictly managed because the missionaries were handing them out to "just anybody!" Can you imagine?

I find all of this extremely offensive. I just can't nail down the reasons why. Part of me says just sign for it and the other part of me says to take a stand and order my own copy myself, and then flaunt it in the Relief Society president's face.

Is it just me or do you have a problem with it too?

Update: See March 13, 2014, "Decidion Still Delayed"