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March 21, 2012


Mormonism suffers from the fact that it came of age during a time of daily newspapers and thus we have a much more accurate historical record of its development than that of other religions, which consequently elicits many more "WTF?" moments. See also Scientology.

Whereas we have to rely heavily on Monty Python when it comes to early Christianity.

Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is- oh wait, wrong history book.

hadn't seen that in a while. thanks.

yeah, that link is nothing but giggle tears.

Hey, strange women have at least as much right to distribute swords of power as do strange winged beings and a host of other strange beings.

I'm looking forward to Palin "popping up" at the GOP convention, and handing off the Sword of Reichtardinuity to Romney.

Moistened bint. It suits her well.

speaking as someone raised in the mormon tradition, i can attest that while mormon feminists do exist, they are a very small and marginalized minority within the church (just like mormon intellectuals and mormon liberals).

also, Toscano vastly overstates the position of women in 19th century mormonism. one could make a case that prior to Joseph Smith's death in 1844 the church was in some ways progressive or feminist, but not a very good case. Smith never allowed women onto either his religious or political councils, and his doctrine of celestial marriage was almost absurdly patriarchal.

after 1844, forget about it. if polygamous wives in Utah sometimes had careers or independence in running their households, if was only because they got no support from their husbands and so had no other choice. if mormons supported women's sufferage, it was only because it worked to their political advantage in a territory where a large majority of the non-mormon

...where a large majority of the non-mormon population were men.

Lj: I don't think feminism is going to be a large part of the conversation, but part of what the article talks about may surprise some, namely the conversations that are occurring by members of the Church about feminism (I use that term broadly). While the article has some things wrong, it is true that blogging has allowed more frank discussion than would otherwise be the case on a variety of issues, including feminism. I have been aware of the sites discussed for some time like Exponent and FMH. The "Bloggernacle" (what a great name, btw) encompasses a wide spectrum of views.

In fact, I used some material from FMH in a talk I had to give on Mother's Day (think sermon; members have to take turns giving these in church). Mother's Day typically makes my wife ill with all the expectations driven by a "picture perfect" view of motherhood. Let's just say she really liked the talk.

The Church has actually interacted with some of these bloggers. There was a charitable drive that included FMH just a few months ago.

I disagree with palerobber that feminists are marginalized "just like" intellectuals and liberals. Maybe it depends on definitions. If an "intellectual" is, frex, a secular humanist trying to foment dissension in the Church, yes, the Church will be concerned. But I don't see intellectuals or liberals per se being marginalized.

I think the relationship of the Church and feminism is unique for many reasons, including the Church's view of the family and the roles of men and women in general, the the opposition to the ERA in the early 80's, etc. The bloggers explore the friction and do so generally in a smart, angst-ridden/fun (yes, both), and thought-provoking way.

The blogs also explore what my wife and I have identified as the "culture/doctrine distinction," although it goes by many names. Some of what Mormons do or think is purely cultural and not doctrinal per se. There is not only more diversity in Mormons than most outsiders think, there is more diversity than what even most members think. It's just not expressed at church like it is in the blogs.

In short, for those that thought we are all thought the same, the feminist discussions at e.g. FMH would come as a surprise.

@bc, regarding definitions...

by 'liberal' i mean politically liberal.

by 'intellectual' i mean (for simplicity sake) anyone in the church who values 'what is true' above 'what is faith-promoting'.

and yes, such people are marginalized in variety of official and non-official ways, including being frequently labeled as "secular humanist[s] trying to foment dissension in the Church".

the church's record on this is long and well-documented-on-the-web, so i don't really need to go into detail. but even in this most recent General Conference you will hear LDS apostles mocking such things as the big bang theory and textual analysis of the Bible. the message is clear: the search for truth will only lead you away from God -- everyone must trust (and obey) us.


Having family members that are liberal, I respectfully disagree that liberals are per se marginalized. I'm not saying that the church is free of "marginalization."

If someone, frex, advocates a moral issue outside the doctrine of the church, they aren't going to be bishop or R.S. President, if that's what you mean. But that is a doctrinal concern rather than a political concern.

I do agree that there are some members that think that because a lot of the moral positions of the church tend to be more "conservative" that necessarily means all conservative issues are therefore more "correct." A good example would be, IMO, the environment.

As for your definition of intellectual, you are getting, IMHO, so obtuse as to avoid any debate. "What is true?" I mean, that is the WHOLE debate, right? Take evolution, frex. The church has no official position on the "how" of creation, only that creation was directed by God. IMO, President McKay's statement that "It would do no violence to my faith to learn that God had formed man in one way or another" is representative of a lot of members of the church.

As to Elder Nelson's talk, he has used such language before. In context, he's not mocking the Big Bang Theory per se. He's emphasizing the reliance on any theory to deny the divine nature of man. IOW, it didn't happen by accident. I mean, this is a guy that was a pioneer in open heart surgery in the 50's and beyond (helped create the first heart-lung machine, helped spread modern techniques to China, operated on the vice premier of China, etc). He perfected the mitral valve technique that saved my daughter's life. He is no foe to science.

Elder Christensen's talk was even less controversial. He basically said hermeneutics and exegesis are fine tools to the extent they enhance understanding, but ultimately doctrine comes from God, not the reasoning of man. He used Peter's dream at Joppa and the taking of the Gospel to the gentiles as an example.

All that being said, there is going to be friction whenever someone challenges "doctrine" with the "truth." I'm not unaware of the examples you are likely referencing. The problem is the Church doesn't talk much about why they part ways with members so all we hear is one side of the story.

bc and palerobber,
I would love to get something that I could put up on the frontpage to discuss some of the issues you are both discussing. Maybe a point-counterpoint under the title of 'LDS-conservative or liberal'. (though that title may be misleading, cause you can't give a binary definition to a group as diverse as LDS, but I give that as an example). If you both are interested, contact me at libjpn gmail and we'll go from there.

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