New Years Resolutions for the LDS Church – Top Twenty Something Changes

Jan 01, 13 New Years Resolutions for the LDS Church – Top Twenty Something Changes

I’ve compiled a list of New Year’s resolutions for our Church! And just like me getting in better shape, these resolutions probably won’t happen; but we can hope, right? I know I’ll probably get some a lot of criticism for creating this post, but I guess I take the whole “we are the body of Christ” statement pretty literally – to me it means that we as a church (the people) can make things better. So, please actually read over my list and consider my suggestions before making any comments about how crazy I am to suggest changes. Also consider the following examples from our LDS church history which illustrate that changes are not always top to bottom, but many things are bottom up:

  1. In the early church, the garments used to go down all the way to the ankles and all the way to the wrist. They also had other features like a collar and bow, which had symbolic meanings to some, including John Taylor. Complaints were heard from the women… those pesky women!! It was not easy cleaning with those garments on. They had to roll up the sleeves and roll up the sleeves of the garments to clean around the house.  It wasn’t practical. Their legs looked bulky when they wore leggings. Garments were being exposed due to the patterns of clothing. Did those women have legitimate complaints about the garment? YES! Were they seen as complainers, whiners, dissenters or apostates for making those suggestions? In fact many members said the women should stop complaining, stop wearing leggings, and just wear other clothes that didn’t expose the garment.

In 1923, however, President Heber J. Grant issued changes: shorter legs, no collar, no bow, no buttons, and shorter arms. President Charles W. Penrose of the First Presidency explained some of the reasoning behind the changes to the garment, which included:

  • Freedom of movement
  • Cleanliness
  • Practicality (hard to do housework for women since they were always rolling up their sleeves)
  • Elimination of undesirable exposure of the garment, which frequently occurred through the wearing of present-day patterns of clothing (Mysteries of Godliness, pg 152-153).

 2.  Changes were made again in my parent’s generation from a one-piece garment to a two-piece garment. It just was not practical. Can you imagine dealing with your monthly “ladies’ days” (Everybody Loves Raymond) in a low crotch one-piece garment? Complaints of various nature were heard, dialog was created, questioned were asked, and changes were made.

3.  Many people questioned the formation of singles wards. This segment of the church was not started from the top. It was started in Southern California – those crazy Socal singles! Once the church leadership saw the success, and dare I say inspiration of it, they made it church wide – another grass movement – from the bottom to the top!

 4.  In April of 1990 the church surveyed 3,400 members about what they felt uncomfortable with when participating in the temple ceremony. A number of changes were implemented after the leadership saw the results of the survey. Some of the changes made were regarding use of Masonic elements, violence of the penalties, and to soften the ritual’s treatment of women and non-Mormon clergy.

I fully expect people to disagree with some of my suggestions, but then again, maybe many pioneers thought that changing the garments was terrible! How can you change the garments? The younger generation, of course, welcomed the changes.

If I left a resolution out that you would like to see, go ahead and add it to the comments and we can discuss. Also, I don’t see any of these as BIG changes. The majority are easy changes that, in my opinion, wouldn’t do any harm. And I would categorize them as policy or cultural changes, no revelations or doctrinal changes needed here.  Again I want to stress how many early changes were made: suggestions were heard, dialog was created, questioned were asked, and changes were made.

Without further ado, here is the list (in no particular order):

1. Give women callings in Sunday School presidencies and other non-priesthood positions (financial clerk, ward executive secretary, etc.). Why do these callings need a priesthood holder?

2. Give women the option of serving either a 2-year or 18-month mission at the age of 18.

3. Make changes in the dialog on modesty and S-E-X. (See post on modesty and a great lesson on modesty.)

4. Have women pray in General Conference. Crazy, right? In 1978 women were finally allowed to pray in Sacrament meeting.

5. Focus more on love rather than personal worthiness/obedience. If we truly love God and our neighbor, we will be caught up in thinking of others and less focused on our checklists.

6. Have Relief Society presidents attend priesthood executive committee meetings, not just ward council. Or maybe just whittle it down to one Sunday meeting (instead of the two separate meetings) and give people more time at home with their families. This is a quote from the church handbook: “As needed, the bishop may invite the Relief Society president to attend some ward PEC meetings to discuss confidential welfare matters and to coordinate home teaching and visiting teaching assignments.”

7. Have more women speakers in General Conference and have them speak to the general body of the church, not just to women, young women, or children.

8. Stop using images of Joseph reading from the golden plates in future publications. It wasn’t translated that way! (See post: How the Book of Mormon was translated.)Joseph Smith Translating the Book of Mormon

9. General Authorities should speak up on sticky issues instead of leaning on FAIR/Maxwell Institute. They have the mantle – let them speak!

10. Update the garment. (See Post 1 and Post 2 on why the garment should be changed and how.)

11. Change dialog and attitudes about homosexuality.  The new website MormonsAndGays I believe is a baby step in the right direction. Additionally, I was going to add that the church should stop supporting Evergreen International.  “Evergreen attests that individuals can overcome homosexual behavior and can diminish same-sex attraction, and is committed to assisting individuals who wish to do so.” This kind of therapy has been proven to do harm. But as it turns out, the church has already stopped funding Evergreen! Well done! Here are some more things that we could do:

A) Make a real campaign against suicide of our young gay people that includes cooperation with secular mental health groups and the LDS social services and others.

B) Help identify factors that make mixed-orientation marriages succeed or fail and use that information in making suggestions to people who are contemplating this course based on real research that shows the chances of success. Help people who are ending mixed-orientation marriages that are unsustainable to break smoothly with less damage to both spouses and their children.

C) Nuance the message about the sin of homosexual activity. The church can give very helpful messages to its LGBT members who might choose same sex relationships. It should be emphasized that monogamy is better than promiscuity and that safe sex is more moral than unsafe sex. And young people should be encouraged to maintain their other moral values even if they are choosing same sex relations. The current system basically throws these people out without helping them develop a moral compass for the real world.

D) Really advocate for families accepting their gay and lesbian children. There is a huge problem of homeless LDS LGBT teens.

E) Make a real campaign against bullying and hate speech in our communities and in our congregations.

F) Stop all affiliation with the Boy Scouts of America unless they change their policy of excluding gays.  I realize that this would be a very big ordeal, but I can’t think of a better way to send a clear message to the world that we are changing our views towards our LGBT brothers and sisters.

G) Stop the practice of annotating the membership record of members with a history of homosexuality.

H) Stop restricting callings unless there is a current worthiness issue.

I) Stop equating homosexuality with pedophilia.

J) Start treating transgendered people with empathy. Allow them membership in the church regardless of their operative status.

K) Stop asking investigators if they have been in a homosexual relationship during the baptism interview.

12. If a General Authority publishes a book, it would be more appropriate for him to donate the proceedings to charity.

13. Require background checks for anyone that works with children or youth.

14. Teach a church history lesson on blacks and the priesthood.

15. Teach a church history lesson on polygamy/polyandry (not to include the popular “there were too many woman and they outnumbered the men while crossing the plains” bit).  I think we are missing a teaching opportunity this upcoming year as we study Lorenzo Snow. He became the prophet just nine years after the first manifesto banning polygamy came out and he had 9 wives and 42 children. This was a rough transition for the church and insight into this time period would be a great opportunity to explain why and how polygamy changed in the church. To be fair, in his timeline in the new manual it does mention him marrying two women in 1845. It also mentions him being arrested for practicing polygamy.  This is a pretty significant difference from the Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Joseph F. Smith, and Heber J. Grant manuals, which made no mention of plural wives, even though all of them were practicing polygamists. It would be refreshing to hear about the other women Lorenzo married as well. Were those wives valued any less?

16. Stop the conflation of marriage and temple sealings. They are two separate things. Encourage a wedding outside the temple for everyone to celebrate, then have a sealing afterwards. This would be more inclusive, especially for families that aren’t all members. And then when couples do get sealed, they can really focus on the temple. Joseph Smith said: “All marriages in this church of Christ of Latter Day Saints should be solemnized in a public meeting, or feast, prepared for this purpose…” (Rules for Marriage presented in General Conference in 1835 and voted on by the whole membership). This was subsequently included in the original Doctrine & Covenants Section 109 and then later removed (but not by Joseph).

17. Provide better training for teachers, speakers, and leaders. It is difficult when the local leadership is all volunteers, and I think this would prove beneficial.

18. MORE JESUS

19. Bring back polygamy ;-)

20. If men can be sealed to more than one woman, women should be able to be sealed to more than one man. (Okay, this one might require a revelation or doctrinal change…)

21. Provide better temple preparation. Explain what actually happens in the temple and why. The temple is something totally different from what we do anywhere else in the church. We can and should talk about it outside the temple if done in a respectful way.

22. Admit when we are wrong (i.e. blacks and racist policies).

23. Shorten sacrament meeting. Please. Do you hear me fellow families with kids????

24. Let service missions be an alternative option to proselyting. If someone doesn’t feel comfortable preaching the gospel, why not have an option of doing a service-type mission. The world needs plenty of service, that’s for sure!

 

Amended list 1/3/13:

A) Have foreign General Authorities speak in their own language. We can read subtitles. It is hard enough to talk to millions of people, why not make it a little easier for them by talking in their own language. I watch all my movies at home now with the subtitles on, that way I don’t miss a thing.

 B) We need more discussion about Heavenly Mother, let’s end the “sacred secret” talk. – Suggested by Lauren Simpson

C)  A talk in General Conference stating that disbelief is not a good reason to divorce your spouse or reject your children, but that the bonds of love and family should be greater than Church activity or affiliation. – Suggested by Jared Anderson

 D) Give full transparent financial reports. The LDS church stopped doing this in 1959. – Suggested by Chris

 E) Invest less capital in commercial enterprises (such as luxury shopping malls and hunting preserves) and more in projects associated with Christian purposes (schools, hospitals, shelters, welfare assistance, humanitarian aid, etc) – Suggested by Chris

 F) Have the Word of Wisdom return to being a suggestion like it originally was intended in Section 89. “To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days” If not, let us know why we can drink Red Bull and other energy drinks that have NO health benefits and can’t drink coffee or tea which have a lot of health benefits.

 G) Better support for divorced members of our church. I don’t know what needs to be done there, but I get the feeling that they are branded as damaged goods.

 H) Better support for singles, especially singles above the age of 30.

 I) More concern about the individual than the organization in other words, Leave the 99 to look for the 1. – Suggested by Jesus

J) More support for black/ethnic athletes at BYU.

K) Remove the witch hunt and anonymous tips model at BYU for those breaking the Honor Code

L) Never hold academic records or transcripts of a student who is forced out of BYU for honor code violations or because they have converted to a different religion. Let that student finish up his/her academic career at BYU even though his/her belief system has changed.

 

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Born and raised in Northern California, Paul received his education at Ricks College and BYU with a BA in Spanish, minor in PE Coaching. Paul served his LDS mission during the years 94-96 in Rosario, Argentina. He now runs a skate shop in Provo, UT. He's married and has 4 boys. He is currently inbetween callings ;).

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95 Comments

  1. How about remove temple ceremonies and garments altogether? Christ taught that we don’t need in anything more than repentance, baptism, and holy ghost (anything more than this cometh of evil – or something like that) in the Book of Mormon.

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  2. I like the list.

    My wife and I have discussed number 1, women having clerical positions etc., and on principle we totally agree. However, we do think that there is a good-old-fashion-avoid-the-appearance-of-evil type reason that women are not called to some of the clerical positions, especially financial clerk. I personally think that locking Sister Smith in a room with 1st Counselor, Brother Jones, for a couple of hours once a month while they count tithing could turn into a bad thing.

    Maybe there is a good way to avoid circumstances such as these, but doing so would be extra work that I don’t think the bishopric needs. Am I being immature?

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    • Garrett /

      Matt, I understand your position on this…however, I do not agree. I think the church has done an incredible job of teaching people to be so afraid of being in the same space as a person of the opposite sex. The whole “stay away from the edge of the cliff” argument just doesn’t work. At some point we have to learn to be adults and interact with others. People all over the world in religious, political, and business pursuits have made it work. This summer I taught the nursery for 3 months. On many occasions we had no other male to do it so a female would sub in and help. On several instances it got back to me certain whisperings that people were uncomfortable with a married male being in the same room as another married female. At some point we just need to learn to be grown ups.

      I really like your suggestions/wish list Paul. I can only hope that even a few of them will be considered in this new year!

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    • Our Ward Clerk’s office door is always open. We, as a culture, seem to be OK with our bishop being behind a close door for hours on end with single, teenage, and married women all the time.

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      • Douglas
        Douglas /

        I completely echo Michael’s comment. Well stated. It is a silly policy. Just keep the Ward Clerk’s door open if you are that worried.

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  3. Michelle /

    Matt,

    IComment

    I disagree, women are more than their sexuality. Women work all the time in the professional world with opposite sex. Cheaters gonna cheat regardless. Not sure if that is what you are implying.

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  4. Jared /

    Great post. Another one is please, please have a General Conference talk stating that disbelief is not a good reason to divorce your spouse or reject your children, but that the bonds of love and family should be greater than Church activity or affiliation.

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  5. Matt,

    Just a point of clarification “turn into a bad thing” was meant to cover the variety of implications. I was leaning more towards what Garrett refers to as “whisperings”. I would be much more concerned with what people would say about the situation than any type of inappropriate behavior that would occurr.

    I think one of the roles of church policy is to remove any chance of the church being an avenue for inappropriate behavior. Unfortunately, having one man and one woman work together for a length of time alone can lead to a truck load of gossip. It may be a while before we see this obstacle overcome.

    Women are much more than their sexuality, unfortunately again LDS culture/norms emphasizes their sexuality when alone with another man.

    I am not defending this stance just trying to reason out why this is hard to overcome.

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  6. I like them all except #19. That one sucks!

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  7. Michael Barker,

    Yes the Bishop is the exception. Also, note that he will always have another man, counselor, executive secretary, etc., outside if his office.

    I am all for having women serve in these capacities, just not sure how it would go down. Definitely worth trying out in my opinion.

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  8. I like this list. But I think several people in top leadership positions would need to “pass beyond the veil” before most of the issues could be addressed. Most members may even agree with this in their private thoughts, just before the fear of being perceived as anti, or a wolf in sheeps clothing as apologists so often declare. But, this is very thoughtful, shows compassion to more (Christ-like, even) and addresses trouble areas of Church culture with dignity. Good job.

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  9. Greg Pearson /

    Mostly good ideas and suggestions. A few are not really needed. A few would be less good.

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  10. Tamera LeBeau /

    This is a great list, Paul. I’m surprised, however, that most of the comments so far are in regard to item #1. As a woman with a professional career, this seems like a no-brainier to me. I’m sure it’s true that “whisperings” could occur because people are human and some of them gossip; however, in this circumstance wouldn’t it be more important to spend time teaching that gossiping is wrong rather than taking the approach of just not allowing women the opportunity to serve in this capacity in the first place? Kudos for all the suggestions in #11 also; I think this would be a very important step toward emphasizing love, as you suggest in #5. I also have to comment on, and heartily agree with, #16. As an inactive member, I was not able to attend the wedding of any of my 4 siblings, which was very difficult for me. People are inactive for a variety of reasons, but the point is that a church that professes to be pro-family should support families coming together for a wedding, not the opposite. I’m not as well-read in religious topics as you and Mike are, but do you know whether any other religions ban people who are not members of the religion from attending a member’s wedding? I’d be curious, if you happen to know, because it seems like an odd approach for a church to take, and not necessary given that the sealing could be done separately. Anyway, thanks for the great post!

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    • Tamara,

      In the majority of the world (I think the exceptions are: the U.S., Germany, and South Africa), the marriage ceremony is separate from the sealing ceremony. This allows non-LDS family members to attend the wedding. The sealing usually occurs later in the day or in the week.

      We have a guest-blogger from Madrid, Spain that is going to do a post about the benefits of keeping the two ceremonies separate.

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    • Matt R. /

      Tamara, in the spirit of the last portion of your comment, it would seem to me (from New Testament examples) that Christ is more interested in reaching out to the spiritually sick than those who are whole. The temple, then, would to be a place of healing, not one of exclusion and piety. With that in mind, I can think of no spiritual reason to not allow non-members into marriage/ sealing ceremonies. Endowments can be (and usually are) separate. But we must await further instruction, I suppose.

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      • Matt -
        This is such a great comment. Thanks for your insight, I wish I would have said something like this in my post.

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      • Douglas
        Douglas /

        I’ve always believed this, and therefore never understood why Bishops would prohibit people from going to the temple if they were struggling with a sin, instead of sending them straight there. Aren’t we all sinners? Don’t we all need the healing? But if a guy goes and tells the bishop he and his girlfriend got a little carried away while making out–4 weeks no temple for that guy.

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    • Tamera – I love it when you comment. I feel like I’m getting to know the Williams family so much better through this blog. Yes, gossip would be the issue there not the actual people working together like they do in the rest of the world. #16 I think is important!! Let’s bring families and friends together, have a big party with EVERYONE. Then when all is said and done, down the road prepare together for the temple.

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    • When a child is adopted, that child can come to the sealing, even though that child is not baptized or has their endowments out. Well because that child is getting sealed to the parents.

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    • Patty /

      #16 really hit home with me as well. I hated that all of my children couldn’t be included at such an important time. That was my reason for having a civil marriage first. There was no way that I was going to have my own parents excluded from my wedding.

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  11. Jennifer Maruri /

    Tamera LeBeau,

    Hey Tammy,
    I believe the sealing/marriage combination is actually unique to the United States, maybe a few other countries too. It depends on the law of the land. In Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, a civil marriage ceremony is required to be married by law, then the couple goes to the temple to be sealed after the civil marriage. I do remember in one of the temple prep pamphlets it suggested not to have a civil ceremony as well as temple sealing because that diminished the sealing. I don’t know where they got that from…maybe someone’s opinion. Probably for the majority of LDS people outside of the U.S., this is not even an option. I think encouraging a civil ceremony for those who need it would be an easy change the church could make. And by the way, I missed all of my sibling temple sealings as well :)

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    • Age, belief or worthiness shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to family activities.

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    • Jenny,

      Just an FYI, we have found two guest-bloggers that are going to write about the benefits of separating the marriage from the Temple sealing. One of the bloggers is from Madrid, Spain. The other is a well-know Mormon scholar from the Netherlands

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    • Tamera LeBeau /

      Thanks for the information about the different ways this is handled in some other countries. I’m really looking forward to the related upcoming post that Mike mentions above. On a related note, you missed all of your siblings’ temple sealings, but you got to attend Jake and my wedding; hey, I’m giving credit where credit’s due because if memory serves, you did the decorations! :)

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  12. betty hunt /

    If the church is shown to not be true in what it taught my family for sixty years Of strict obediece and full tithing over forty years…why are any suggestions needed…what is your desired outcome for us or these old men?

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  13. Torrey /

    I’ve been talking a lot about these issues lately with my LDS friends. These problems are so so difficult and as a young person (I’m 22 at BYU) I’ve found it really hard to know what I believe when, as I grow up, I realize that so many of these things are cultural rather than doctrinal. I think that figuring out for ourselves where to draw the line between doctrine and culture is one of the most important aspects of finding personal faith.

    Thanks so much for this post- I wish that more people would talk about this-REALLY talk about it at church. Most of these suggestions aren’t radical at all. They just make sense! Anyway, thanks for the dialogue on such an important topic. I love what you said about grassroots efforts, getting a dialogue going and being the change we want to see. That pretty much sums up why I’m going on a mission in a few months!

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  14. betty hWhydo you want to live change things in a church that is true unt /

    Why do people want to change things in the church when it’s shown that the church is not the 1 and only true church …

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    • Regardless of how you feel about the church – it being the one true church, the only way or if you feel like this path just works for you – these suggestions are made to better our community and to help us help others that are in need. A lot of times in a community the majority rules while the minority gets pushed aside. In a community where the first commandment is to love, the minority getting pushed aside just doesn’t work.

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  15. I think there are two important things that should be included.

    1) Declare a change in tithe payments. 10% should be based on the surplus, not the gross. Food, clothing and shelter should be taken care of first. Teachings that encourage people to pay tithing even if it requires that they fall behind in important payments or go deeper into debt to cover these payments with the promise of “The Lord will provide” is completely impractical and dangerous. Not every Mormon member is rich you know!

    2) Either allowed members to drink tea/coffee (which actually have proven health benefits), or, if not, explain why they cannot be consumed. The church has said that it’s not because of the caffeine…so what is it? Is there some mysterious danger that the church knows that the advancements in technology, science, and medicine has not yet discovered?

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    • 1) You mean how tithing was really revealed to Joseph Smith in Section 119? Absolutely.
      2) Section 89 was a suggestion, not a law. How about we move it back to a suggestion?

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      • Matt R. /

        So, you can technically follow the letter of the laws for tithing and word of wisdom, as written in D&C, and still be seen as not worthy for a temple recommend based on how those laws have been re-interpretted. That seems very odd. It would seem that as these changes are made, the changes should be added to the cannon of scripture. Not that I like those changes. The seemingly trivial nature of the new interpretations doesn’t lend itself to the exciting grandiose revelations that someone would think accompanies with the heavens opening and God speaking. Just my opinion.

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  16. Lauren Simpson /

    One of the first things on my priority list would be opening up the discussion on Heavenly Mother- not treating Her like some kind of “sacred secret.”

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  17. Andrew Young /

    I like how you handle the LBGT talks. Although I have no idea of their plight it seems a lot of the same treatment is sent out to the single parent community. There is nothing in the church to help with these people and seeing as they make up over 50% of the population you’d think there would be. Also this lack of disscussion/help leads to less activity and a life to meet other singles outside of the single’s ward option that isn’t a great place for divorced over 30 people to hang out.

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  18. Andrew Young /

    Paul Barker,

    I knew it’d be a slippery slope when they officially allowed caffine. Under section 89 and the temple question coffee/tea drinking is the same as drinking an alcoholic beverage and treated the same in the repentance process.

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  19. Andrew Young /

    PS I love reading your articles…even as a less active.

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  20. Torrey /

    Paul Barker,

    Thanks! I’m going to Boston!

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  21. Al

    This is a great list. Thank you for taking the time to put it together.

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  22. Leah Marie /

    1. In my early 20s I was in a YSA ward at BYU wherein the bishop called women to all kinds of these callings. I remember people at the stake level (high councilmen, etc.) making a stink about it at some point. But really, it just ended up being a revelation to everyone involved that there was no reason NOT to call women to these positions. I do remember people saying, “It’s okay because it’s a YSA ward.” But I don’t buy that. Mature adults are not so sex crazed that we’d all jump each other the first chance we get to be alone.

    6. I love this, and would like to add that the YW’s president should be invited to every meeting that the YM’s president is invited to.

    19. VETO

    22. Dare to dream.

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    • Veto indeed!!! Had to throw that in there to lighten things up.

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    • 6. Yes good idea – I forgot who goes to those meetings. But that is a good standard, if its a general meeting and the YM pres is there, the YW pres should be there too.

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      • Leah Marie /

        And I guess while I’m thinking about it, the primary president (a calling men should be considered for) should be included more frequently as well. Lots of food for thought here.

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        • Are men seen as “natural men” and so therefore shouldn’t be trusted with children in our culture?

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          • Leah Marie /

            I think there is something to that. Men can, and are often, called to teach in primary, but there are strict rules about men not being alone with the kids. You either have to have two men, or a man and a woman who is a relative. A rule which speaks both to our weirdness about men with children and men and women being alone together. None of which I like.

            I think there is also another component, which is that our culture is also overly obsessed with gender roles, and the idea that women are the nurturing and loving ones, and so are more frequently called to serve with children. Also way off base, in my humble opinion.

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  23. I love ALL of your suggestions. I think polygamy should be brought back – I would LOVE me some sister wives ;)
    I think you should be called as the next prophet just to implement these suggestions BTW. (Did you come up with them in a grove of trees perhaps?)

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  24. Matt R. /

    Lauren Simpson,

    I had that discussion about Heavenly Mother today with my mom. She totally buys that explanation (because that’s all that was being sold to her, most likely). I asked her what if her children never knew about her, how would that make her feel? What if dad got all the attention wherever she went. And her children only called to talk with dad, not ever getting to hear her kids say “Mom, I love you”. She didn’t enjoy hearing my explanation, just shook her head. I then said, “that feeling you have right now is what Heavenly Mother feels everyday.”

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  25. Jerilyn /

    I love all of the suggestions (with the exception of bringing back polygamy) but I am especially touched by the section on gay, lesbian and transgender members. Those are well-thought and would make huge strides with members who yearn to connect to their cultural and spiritual home. Thank you for this!

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  26. Chris /

    Great post. How about adding 1) re-establish full financial transparency within the church (annual reports, etc.) and 2) invest less capital in commercial enterprises (such as luxury shopping malls and hunting preserves) and more in projects associated with Christian purpose (schools, hospitals, shelters, welfare assistance, humanitarian aid, etc.)

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  27. Curtis /

    If you don’t like the way the CJCLDS does things why don’t you create your own the way you want it, or are you scared?

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    • Curtis – I will invite you to read the beginning of this post again. I give 4 examples of grass movement changes in our CJCLDS history. Please after reading that come back and comment.

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    • Curtis,

      You present a classical logical fallacy – that of a false dilemma. These are not either/or propositions. Furthermore, these are cultural or policy changes for the most part. They would not require revelation let alone any addition to our canonized scripture. Looking at it from another angle, doesn’t revelation necessarily mean change?

      Some of these changes are already occurring outside the Mormon corridor.

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  28. Wow, that is sad that people actually said or felt that way :(. They must not have to work/live in the real world with the rest of us.

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  29. Garrett,

    Wow, that is sad that people actually said or felt that way :(. They must not have to work/live in the real world with the rest of us.

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  30. Cumorah /

    Great work Paul. As long as we’re shaking things up – is there a reason men can’t be called to the Primary presidency? And I know you’ve covered this in a different post, but can we please, pretty please have some changes to the garment? Or have their requirement taken away all together?

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  31. Matt R. /

    Paul, your ammended list is great. I think comment “I” was very apt; “suggested by Jesus”.

    For people who think the list usurps the callings of the First Presidency, remember that the Israelites under Moses were cautioned to keep the prophets in check, so grassroots change is not a bad thing at all but is actually supported by scripture when it brings harmony with the Gospel, though it may break with certain traditions.

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  32. Matt R. /

    Paul Barker,

    I was referring to the item I in your amended list from today that calls for the church to leave the 99 to search out the one lost sheep.

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  33. I might actually return to church if these were implemented.

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  34. Tamera LeBeau,

    I do remember that–it was fun decorating and I was very glad to be there at your wedding!

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    • Jenny,

      When you are replying to someone’s comment, hit the black colored reply on the right; not the blue one on the left. If you want, you can delete your comment and then hit the black reply under your sister’s comment and she will know you responded to her.

      mike

      p.s. we are getting read of the blue reply button. It’s just confusing

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  35. Agreed with all of your suggestions, particularly shortening up SM!

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  36. Camille /

    I know I’m way behind here but – yay. I loved this.

    And why don’t we ever talk about the “other” wives?? We talk about Emma a lot (of course I don’t like the way people frequently talk about her but that’s another topic) but we never talk about all the other wives.

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    • Mike in his podcast mentioned these women and just loved the title of the book “In Sacred Loneliness” because it was a perfect description of what those women went through being alone… doesn’t seem like much has changed today because we still don’t talk about the other wives.

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      • Camille,

        I have a hypothesis as to why this is. After the majority of the church went West with Brigham, Emma was demonized horribly by Brigham and the main body of the church. The resurrection of Emma’s relationship with Joseph (especially in art) is something new. I believe it is an attempt to distance the main-stream LDS church from polygamy.

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  37. Stephen Smoot /

    “This is a pretty significant difference from the Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Joseph F. Smith, and Heber J. Grant manuals, which made no mention of plural wives, even though all of them were practicing polygamists.”

    Not entirely accurate, at least with regard to Joseph Smith: https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/the-life-and-ministry-of-joseph-smith?lang=eng

    “In 1841 the first sealings of couples were performed, and in 1843 the Prophet dictated the revelation that describes the eternal nature of the marriage covenant (see D&C 132). The doctrines in this revelation had been known by the Prophet since 1831.21 As commanded by God, he also taught the doctrine of plural marriage.”

    And: https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/introduction?lang=eng

    “This book deals with teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith that have application to our day. For example, this book does not discuss such topics as the Prophet’s teachings regarding the law of consecration as applied to stewardship of property. The Lord withdrew this law from the Church because the Saints were not prepared to live it (see D&C 119, section heading). This book also does not discuss plural marriage. The doctrines and principles relating to plural marriage were revealed to Joseph Smith as early as 1831. The Prophet taught the doctrine of plural marriage, and a number of such marriages were performed during his lifetime. Over the next several decades, under the direction of the Church Presidents who succeeded Joseph Smith, a significant number of Church members entered into plural marriages. In 1890, President Wilford Woodruff issued the Manifesto, which discontinued plural marriage in the Church (see Official Declaration 1). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints no longer practices plural marriage.”

    But I see your overall point about “sanitizing” Church history in Sunday School manuals, etc.

    “B) We need more discussion about Heavenly Mother, let’s end the “sacred secret” talk. – Suggested by Lauren Simpson”

    Totally agree. Two hymns (as cool as they are) and some lip service now and then is not good enough. This distinctive Mormon teaching is radically awesome. Why don’t we do more to embrace it?

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  38. Wow I can really see where problems that will come from after reading through this blog in the last days.It will come from those who murmur against the church.We must remember change comes though the Lord in this church via through his prophet When the Lord ready for a change he will change it.

    In regarding men being in the primary I feel it was more for there safety because men are being so readily accused of misconduct. now a days .I know as a primary teacher in the passed I always left my door open a crack.and as a 1 Counselor presidency suggested they do the same nursery they couldn’t because they would take off and run away.
    Regarding. women running the show being a ward clerk and such I feel personally women would have no problems doing that job but why would I want too there only about 5 Or 6 positions left period Bishop 1 Counselor second counsellor Ward clerk Sunday school presidency elders quoram and high Priest We have a mirror Administration Everyone has the opportunity to serve . If we take up all the jobs You might as well say Amen to the priesthood because the men will have nothing to do and leave the church in droves. Regarding temple ceremony having taught temple prepThere have been people Who have snuck into the temple recorded the sessions and still won’t have understanding the classes in a nut shell are just a basic Review of everything you’ve already done before Your commitments .Holy Ghost teaching us all different things at the same time.It’s like College you can’t go for 1 day and learn everything You have to keep going back .Why do you think they repeats lessons.Because we haven’t all got it yet.
    I feel it’s more important that we get it before we try and change everything. When the lords ready he will do it not until.

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  39. Steve N. /

    Great list! As a divorced member, I agree that the church really has no idea how to deal with us. They do not know what we go through and how our daily lives are affected by both the divorce and the demands the church still places on us. I’m a single Dad, but for the first 3 years after our divorce, I wasn’t. I can tell you that the church does not understand the financial devistation involved with divorce. I am not advocating special exemptions for divorced members, but the church needs to understand that child support is not only morally correct, it’s the law. I simply could not pay my child support and my tithing. I couldn’t do it. What is the option…pay your tithing and then ask the bishop to pay your rent every month? Pay your tithing then go through the often humiliating process of getting a food order? Why do this when I make enough to provide for myself, pay my bills, and pay my child support? It’s a real personal struggle. The only thing I’ve noticed where child support and the church is concerned, is in the temple recommend interview. If memory serves, there used to be a question that asked (paraphrased) if you were honest in your dealings with mankind and had lived up to your financial obligations…the inference being child support and alimony. That part seems to be gone. Does that encourage members not to pay these so they can keep paying tithing and therefore get a recommend? Another issue is debt. Unless your financially set in such a way that divorce just puts a dent in your life as apposed to derailing it, debt racks up in a real hurry! The church teaches us, correctly, to eliminate debt. Try paying child support and/or alimony and not loading up your credit cards. Very tough. Very.

    I don’t know what the solution is. I just know the church does not consider any of this. And this is only ONE of the huge issues we face. Another is the church being so family oriented. We feel almost alienated because we don’t fit the mold. I think divorcees in Utah get married a second, third and fourth time because they can’t handle being “left out.” But this is another topic for another time.

    Anyway…great list.

    Steve

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