While there are several troubling things about the recent GA stipend issue, I think what is most tiresome for me is the feeling of constantly being left out in the cold when it comes to controversies that church leaders refuse to comment on, or send Newsroom cronies to do an inadequate job of commenting on. I’m tired of having to watch ostensibly progressive Mormons and Mormon scholars having to carry the water and perform the sometimes impossible gymnastics required not only to help themselves maintain some kind of sanity in the midst of so much distance and dissonance, but also to help others stay afloat. No comment no comment no comment no comment: oh wait here’s a comment, at last: be obedient, follow the prophet beyond all reason like a cult and I’m so angry when people leave. Decades of leaving it to others to fill in the gaps, provide the context, offer assurance, suggest novel ways to think about this or that, etc. I don’t think leaders should be constant hand-holders and explainers, but they either don’t care at all when there is some kind of moral or intellectual issue that needs serious attention, or they know they can rely on certain of the stalwart to bear the burden alone out on the front lines. It’s ecclesiastical bullshit of the highest order and it’s one of those things that makes me feel nothing but sympathy and understanding when I hear that someone is thinking of leaving for good. I think it’s often this feeling–not merely that there might be lying or obfuscation, but that you’re on your own against the wolves of orthodoxy who will defend the party line to the death and there is no help forthcoming–that often makes people feel betrayed and depleted.

Jacob is in a doctoral program in Philosophy of Religion and Theology at Claremont Graduate University.

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