OxyMormons #5

Nov 29, 15 OxyMormons #5

Posted by in Featured, Mormon Humor, OxyMormons

A weekly ‘political cartoon’ about Mormonism (or bi-weekly…or monthly…). Click on comic to see it in full size....

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Posted by in Featured, Homosexuality, Policy

A few weeks ago, I remember hearing the news about the church’s new policy which targets the children of parents in same sex relationships. Like many, I was overcome with anger and hurt for the families that would be affected. However, I cannot say I was surprised. I have been an LGBT+ advocate for too long, heard too many stories, and felt them all too deeply, to be surprised anymore by news of this nature. Even so, it has been simultaneously painful and empowering to see the response to this issue. On the one hand, I have seen a massive strain on families in the past week, both those with and without LGBT+ members. I have seen loved ones attacking one another and relationships severed as a result. On the other hand, it fills me with hope to see so many LDS members taking a stand against the discriminatory practices of the church. Questioning your beliefs is not easy. Standing up for those beliefs against the majority is even harder. Though it may not be my place to do so, I would like to address individuals on both sides of this issue. I would challenge those who stand against the policy to remember how difficult it was to take that stand. I would also challenge those who stand by the policy to ask the difficult question, “Why?” To be clear, I am not a member of the LDS church, nor have I ever been. Until I met my husband four years ago, I had never even spoken to a Mormon. And to be completely honest, I am not even religious. Though I was raised Evangelical for most of my life, I left the church in my late teens and now identify as agnostic. Regardless, I also do not believe it is my place to judge members of any religion. Religion has done beautiful things for many people, from offering individuals a healthy support network to even saving lives. My goal is not to degrade, but...

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Late Night Thoughts on the LDS Church’s Policy on Gay Parents &Their Children

Nov 29, 15 Late Night Thoughts on the LDS Church’s Policy  on Gay Parents &Their Children

Posted by in Family, Featured, Homosexuality, Policy, Theology

NOTE: For the past several weeks I have considered how best to respond to the LDS Church’s policy changes on gay and lesbian parents and their children. I resisted a quick response because I feel this is a complicated matter that deserves careful, thoughtful consideration. Upon first hearing the news of the policy change, I was both disturbed and distraught. At a time when it seemed the Church was moving in a progressive or at least positive direction on issues relating to its LGBT members, this policy seems a sudden lurch backward and out of harmony with other recent statements and sentiments by Church leaders on LGBT issues. When friends began calling or writing asking my thoughts, I simply said that it didn’t make sense to me spiritually, culturally, socially, politically or, especially, emotionally. It still doesn’t—nor do I expect it will. Nevertheless, I have an impulse to try and respond. I’ve divided my response into sections that might help readers zero in on particular issues, concerns or hopes. Personal Perspective I came of age in a homophobic world, a world in which my family, friends, church leaders, fellow members, teachers and almost everyone I knew saw homosexuality as an evil perversion. “Queer” and “pervert” were common terms used in my home, and I was taught to avoid and fear gay men and even abuse them physically. My friends in Long Beach talked seriously about “rolling some queers down at the Pike” (an arcade). When I saw men showing romantic affection for one another, I was repulsed and even felt my fists tighten in anger. Everything in my culture reinforced such feelings. At BYU I often heard disparaging remarks about students rumored to be gay, and as a young missionary I remember speaking disparagingly behind the backs of missionaries reported to be gay as “sisters.” As a leader of the Honor Society at BYU I was aware of the fact that being homosexual was against the honor code and heard of gays being called...

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An Open Letter to the Office of the First Presidency

Nov 29, 15 An Open Letter to the Office of the First Presidency

Posted by in Featured, Homosexuality, Mormonism

An Open Letter To: The Office of the First Presidency The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints After much prayer, I am writing to implore you to reconsider the Church’s new policy on the treatment of same-gender families and to address this matter more clearly and lovingly and within the context of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I appreciate your desire to protect the doctrine. These policies do not do so. Many LDS families, including mine, are troubled by the new policy guidelines of the Church regarding the treatment of same-gender families. This policy requires direct and frank responses from the First Presidency so that Church members may make educated decisions for and with our families. Simply directing members to pray and talk with local ecclesiastic leaders are insufficient for this highly charged yet extremely sensitive discussion. Elder Christofferson’s interview, while appreciated, addressed the policy only superficially. The recent communication with additional guidance was inadequate. I have reviewed these matters with my Stake Presidency.  They do not have the answers.  As these are policy matters, only the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles can address them. As the Church has now opened this door, it is time an open and interactive dialogue on matters of sexuality and the role of the Church in this very intimate activity. Many of the troubling matters are noted below. In some cases, these comments are, of necessity, rather blunt: The Church’s policy appears to be a new McCarthyism. The Church position will encourage its members to report each other’s actions to ecclesiastical leaders for unnecessary and harsh disciplinary action. This will be the practical outcome of the Church’s new policy among some of our members who are more concerned with the salvation of their neighbors than their personal salvation. How will the Church handle such “witch” hunts? President Boyd K. Packer stated with respect to the Church’s LGB members, “We do not reject you. … We cannot reject you. … We will not reject...

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Why are you Cozying up to Gay Mormons Now?

Nov 29, 15 Why are you Cozying up to Gay Mormons Now?

Posted by in Featured, Homosexuality

A Critique of Recent Posts by Believing Gay Mormons and the Mormons who are Now Using Those Posts as Proof that the Church’s SSM Policy Changes are Helpful In the days following the policy change to Handbook 1 and as a result of my public critique of those changes, I experienced social media ‘silence.’ Only a few family members engaged in (fairly) polite discussions about my frustration with the changes to Handbook 1. Others were not so polite. For example, a former mission companion accused me of being an apostate by quoting the writings of Brigham Young who warned of ‘false teachers’ and ‘false prophets.’ Brigham’s accusations will never hurt me (I have no respect for him). How can I respect a man who ‘lied for the Lord’ and supported Joseph Smith’s marriages to teenage girls and the wives of some of the men he had sent away on missions? One friend expressed her love for me and gave me a Facebook hug ((hugs!)). That made my day since I know that she had likely spent a lot of time contemplating and grappling with the Church’s policy change (perhaps even weeping, I don’t know, but I feel for her and her family since it directly impacts their lives). Suddenly, out of the silence of my friends and family Facebook feeds, I began to see a common trend. My True Blue Mormon [TBM] Facebook friends began sharing blogs and articles written by believing LGBT Mormons or believing children of LGBT relationships intended to show that the Church’s change in policy was legitimate and helpful. Some of these friends were the same who have shown disregard and in some cases, hate and contempt, toward LGBT Mormons (believing or unbelieving) and those that support the fight for gender and LGBT equality in the LDS Church. However, when their purposes were best served, they were more than willing to use the words of those they have marginalized to their advantage. I want to address two problems I see with this trend. First, I want to engage...

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History Repeats Itself, Especially When you Ignore It! – Considering the LDS Church’s Past Racial Restriction Policies in Light of Current LGBT Policies

Nov 29, 15 History Repeats Itself, Especially When you Ignore It! – Considering the LDS Church’s Past Racial Restriction Policies in Light of Current LGBT Policies

Posted by in Featured, Homosexuality, Racism

It has been said that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it – the first as tragedy, the second as farce. The current faith crises of sanctions on homosexuals, their families, and other members of the gay community within the LDS faith, is a challenge that rings familiar to those LDS who lived through the faith’s racial restriction policies of the past that endured up until 1978. The scars of the exclusion of those of African descent, still not completely healed, have again been wounded as the ghost of this past has been conjured again with these new, painful policies. There are many striking similarities between how the gay community is being treated as the LDS church enters this new era of segregation wherein recent policies have been enacted to ban blessings, membership and numerous ordinances and opportunities to children of gay parents, in addition to the pre-existing restrictions placed upon those parents. BLACK- Under the past racial restriction policies of the Church that lasted from the presidency of Brigham Young until 1978, blacks of African descent were somewhat welcomed into the Church, but not with open arms. Under the racial restrictions, persons with any black African ancestry could not hold the priesthood and could not participate in most temple ordinances, including the endowment and celestial marriage. The racial restriction policy was applied to black Africans, persons of black African descent, and anyone with mixed race that included any black African ancestry. While the Church had on open membership policy for all races, blacks were the only group subject to these sanctions as leaders of the time claimed this was due to a godly-imposed “curse”, and therefore their hands were tied. Church leaders tried promoting these institutionalized foundations of segregation as creating a “separate but equal” class structure within the Church, however, this was not viewed as being such by those affected. ________________________________________ GAY- Under the current homosexual restriction policies of the Church, those who self-identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual,...

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83: Memory

Nov 28, 15 83: Memory

Posted by in Featured, Podcast, The Human Mormon Mind

http://media.blubrry.com/rationalfaiths/p/rationalfaiths.com/podcast/84Memory.mp3 Podcast: Play in new window | Download Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS Little Brother: “Hey remember than time when we all jumped off the ski lift?” Older Brother: “Dude you weren’t even there. In fact you were 5. I told you that story.” Little Brother: “Oh.” Memory is a funny thing. We all know that it is fallible and that we forget stuff or misremember stuff all the time. Yet, when a memory is vivid it is deeply upsetting to find out that it is false or even flawed in some way. In this episode Mica, LaShawn, Thomas, and I discuss how memory is experienced, how memory is understood according to modern psychologists, and how this understanding of memory should inform our interpretation of history. Side Note Please check out the RF-LCF fundraiser page and donate while you are there (and nab some sweet Mormon swag). Mini-Lecture Text I spent much time playing guitar through my high school years, and like other guitar nuts I never learned to read music like those who went through piano lessons did. I learned new songs through guitar tablature found on the internet. I remember several times visualizing in my mind, what I thought was a memory of previously seeing a link to tablature for a song I wanted to learn on a website. When I went to look for the actual link my brain was telling me existed I could not find it. It simply wasn’t there. This kind of experience is not unique to only me. Similarly, a memory researcher “Dr. Neisser, came to the realization that his own memory was as fragile as [anyone else’s]. For years, he had said that he was listening to a baseball game on the radio when he heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Finally, he said, it dawned on him that he could not have been listening to a baseball game in December.” They don’t play baseball in the winter. What he...

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The Restoration Movement, Blind Men, and the Unknowable Gospel

Nov 28, 15 The Restoration Movement, Blind Men, and the Unknowable Gospel

Posted by in Featured, restoration, Theology

Before I begin this post, I want to relate the following parable called “The Blind Men and the Elephant.” A number of disciples went to the Buddha and said, “Sir, there are living here in Savatthi many wandering hermits and scholars who indulge in constant dispute, some saying that the world is infinite and eternal and others that it is finite and not eternal, some saying that the soul dies with the body and others that it lives on forever, and so forth. What, Sir, would you say concerning them?” The Buddha answered, “Once upon a time there was a certain raja who called to his servant and said, ‘Come, good fellow, go and gather together in one place all the men of Savatthi who were born blind… and show them an elephant.’ ‘Very good, sire,’ replied the servant, and he did as he was told. He said to the blind men assembled there, ‘Here is an elephant,’ and to one man he presented the head of the elephant, to another its ears, to another a tusk, to another the trunk, the foot, back, tail, and tuft of the tail, saying to each one that that was the elephant. “When the blind men had felt the elephant, the raja went to each of them and said to each, ‘Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant?’ “Thereupon the men who were presented with the head answered, ‘Sire, an elephant is like a pot.’ And the men who had observed the ear replied, ‘An elephant is like a winnowing basket.’ Those who had been presented with a tusk said it was a ploughshare. Those who knew only the trunk said it was a plough; others said the body was a grainery; the foot, a pillar; the back, a mortar; the tail, a pestle, the tuft of the tail, a brush. “Then they began to quarrel, shouting, ‘Yes it is!’ ‘No, it is not!’ ‘An elephant is...

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Faith, Fasting, and Religion

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like all people (perhaps especially Mormons) often miss the mark. We confuse the means with the ends. At very least I often do. I can get so wrapped up in something that I miss the forest for the trees. Here are 3 areas that where I think we can easily go wrong: 1- Faith If we have all faith so that we can move mountains, but we lack charity, we’re nothing. So how do we show true charity? When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. 2- Fasting Many times I have fasted with some specific purpose or blessing in mind. In fact, I was taught that this was how we were supposed to fast. We need to fast for something. But what does that mean? In my experience this has meant that we want to invoke some blessing from God. We want some family member who is sick or going through some trial to get blessings through our fast. What does God say about fasting? Ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. So it is not to make our petitions be more effective. It is not to increase the likelihood that God will grant our proposed desire. So why should we fast? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? What does it mean to hide yourself from your own flesh? My take is that we are all family, and as such when we ignore those in need, we are hiding ourselves from our own family. We could also take it to mean that we should take care of our own. For years I assumed that our tithing and fast offerings ensured...

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One in Us

John 17: 21 “That they all may be one; as thou, Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” Unity in Christ is essential to the Gospel message. However, Christian unity as it is understood in the modern ecumenical movement is somewhat of a contradiction of terms. Are we speaking of a unity in belief, practice, or personal piety? For Mormons this term becomes even more ambiguous, as Latter-day Saints tend to believe our church is the “One True Church.” Furthermore, this concept is even more divisive among Mormons, considering some are declared “worthy” for the Temple, while others are not. During my studies overseas with the World Council of Churches in Geneva, I learned that John 17:21 was the key to understanding Christian unity as defined by the modern ecumenical movement; for in this verse is expressed Christ’s “ecumenical imperative,” a calling for unity among believers. However, those outside Mormonism—Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox— are even divided on what this means or how to interpret it. So what does it mean to be “one in Christ”? The seventeenth chapter of John is the great intercessory prayer for church unity. This prayer was offered up by Jesus himself just as he was about to undergo the agonizing ordeal of the Atonement. Perhaps the following verse offers a clue; “that they also may be one in us….that the world may believe….” (emphasis added). The key to unity is found in divine plurality. It is interesting to note that as Jesus is conversing with the Father all throughout chapter seventeen, he makes repeated reference to the essential unity found in divine plurality; verse eleven, “….that they may be one, as we are” and verse twenty-two, “…even as we are one.” (emphasis added) It would seem that Jesus’ repeated use of “we,” along with the reference to “us” in John 17: 21, indicate that he is speaking not only to...

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