‘I really think it would be best if you ended your remarks at this point?’

John Remy posted an interesting blog/video where a man, speaking about his concern with the Church’s practice and policy during the Prop 8 debate, was asked by the Bishop to stop.  The man protested and was allowed to finish but the Microphone was turned off.  What would make you ask someone to sit down?

I have never even seen this done.  Therefore I thought I would include a short poll to see if you good folks have:

 [poll id=”60″]

I hope John won’t mind me including the video here for you all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubZQ5TgFRac

If you were a Bishop, what would it take for you to ask someone to sit down or change what they were saying?  Is there anything that would cause you to do that?

  • Doctrinal Disagreement (if so what kind?)
  • Attack of a Church Leader
  • Personal Criticism of a Member
  • Swearing
  • Drunk or on Drugs

For my part I disagree with someone after they had spoken if I felt that it might upset people.  For example, if someone declared Jesus to be a liar I might express my feelings to the contrary afterward.  I think personal criticism or swearing might be something which I might stop.  If they were drunk I could accept it as long as they did not do any of the other two.

What do you think?

Comments

comments

164 comments for “‘I really think it would be best if you ended your remarks at this point?’

  1. jmb275
    September 24, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Oh man, what a nasty situation! On some level, I have sympathy for the Bishop. What did we expect him to do? In his mind he is probably torn and I’m sure there were plenty in the audience who would have been screaming mad had he NOT done something! On the other hand, I would say the wards I’ve been in have pretty low tolerance for anything outside the box. I’ve heard it’s different in other places, so I can’t condemn the church as having some policy of intolerance. So much of this type of thing is cultural.

    As for what I would do, yes, if someone was swearing I would probably stop it. Otherwise, I’m in your boat, I would get up and express my opinion afterward, or even thank the individual for speaking what was important to them. It might be uncomfortable for some but I’m not sure we should be in the business of making life comfortable for everyone.

  2. Tom
    September 24, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    It’s possible that the bishop didn’t cut the mic. You’ll notice that after their exchange the speaker was no longer speaking into the mic, as it had been moved to one side. The mic might have been cut, but I can’t be sure just from the clip.

  3. September 24, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Only saw it happen one time. Bishop’s son was giving his mission homecoming talk and was the only speaker (remember thos days?) At the 1 hour 40 minutes mark (i.e., 30 minutes over quitting time), the Bishop stood up, put his arm around his son and told him to wrap it up. Not controversial, but very much appreciated.

  4. Awesome Dave
    September 24, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    it was always frustrating to me on my mission when we’d bring investigators to fast and testimony and members would teach false doctrine w/o the bishop stopping them. it’s a bold move, and I’m sure not an easy one for any bishop who’s had to cut someone off, but it should be done more.

  5. Rico
    September 24, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Awesome Dave – what did/do you count as false doctrine. For me it would have to be pretty extreme.

    Shawn – I can’t believe anyone would just keep going like that.

    Tom – Your completely right, I just went from the annotation in the clip but it might be mis-interpreted.

    jmb275 – I agree with your comment about culture. But it would be nice if we could tolerate stuff. I mean if we disagree we are aloud to do that but why should people get upset if the Bishop does not say anything. I hope I never have to do it.

    I am surprised that so many have seen it happen… what happened, I am curious…

  6. alice
    September 24, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I was once in a Quaker meeting. (If you’re not familiar, they are silent unless and until someone feels moved to speak and then they speak freely tho they’re advised to let the spirit help them edit to the essentials.) At this particular meeting the profound silence was broken by a woman who was quite deranged. I remember she began with an exortation for everyone to “look busy” because the Second Coming was at hand. Anyway, she went on for 4 or 5 minutes of rambling and a bit of paranoia. Within the silence it was deafening. And yet, she got to finish and she sat down of her own volition. As soon as she was done, the profundity of the silence and meditation was reestablished. There was no hint of discord in the room. It was a moving experience.

    I’ve thought several times about what a blessing it may have felt to her to have someone listen to her. Not to be shut down or turned away from. I’ve also thought about the simple, unceremonious return to an order that was far greater than the outburst and that seemed inevitable and unmoveable.

    (When I say there was a great silence you may rightly guess that there were no children present. I haven’t been to a Quaker meeting with children. I am told, tho, that they join the adults in silence for 20 minutes and then file out to their own activities shaking hands with the adults as they leave the room.)

    Anyway, my point is that no one in that room who knew their own purpose was deterred from their worship by listening to something that didn’t have much to do with it.

  7. September 24, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I was at church one time when a couple teenagers from a local evangelical church came in during fast and testimony meeting and went up to the stand. Apparently they started talking anti-Mormon stuff (I was like 8, so I likely wasn’t really paying attention to what they were saying; in any event, I don’t remember exactly what it was). The bishop got up, put his arm around the kid, and kindly led him away. (Again, I don’t remember if it was in the middle of the kid’s remarks or at the end.)

    Of course, it turns out they were put up to it by their pastor. It further turns out their church met in a city-owned building. And it turned out the mayor was in our ward (maybe that’s common in the Mormon corridor, but it’s relatively uncommon in California). It didn’t happen again.

  8. Ann
    September 24, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Twice. The first time was when a new member decided to come out as gay. The bishop just asked him to close. I was a new member myself at the time, and never saw the guy again. The second time was when a member of the high council got up to speak and started to tell the well-traveled MUL about the exploits of the Utah National Guard engineering battalion in Iraq. The bishop asked the gentleman if he would forgo his prepared talk and give his testimony, which he did. The bishop then explained why he had done what he had done, and thanked the brother for his testimony.

  9. Jorgy
    September 24, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Who brings a video camera to church? Was it a cell phone camera? Seems unlikely…

  10. Jeff Spector
    September 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I’ve seen the Bishop pass a note to the person speaking to end because they went way over time. But I’ve never seen anyone stopped from preaching false doctrine over the pulpit. I wish the Bishop would correct the particularly goofy so-called “faith promoting” stories.

    As for the video, what a set up. With a video camera and all. Shame on those who did it. and posted it.

  11. September 24, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Many years ago, a man I worked for who had a great heart, but extreme political beliefs got in a political fight in HPG, and was asked shortly after that to speak in Sacrament Meeting on the Constitution. So, he went to the closest LDS Bookstore and bought a bunch of books from ETB (who was the prophet at the time) with every anti-communist statement he could find.

    And then he went on, and on, putting his hand over the “Please close” light and running way over time, leaving the son of a SP Counselor about five minutes to summarize his mission experience. He would have been horribly upset if the bishop at the time had stood up and put his arm around him and told him he needed to wrap it up, but it would have been a good thing IMO.

    False doctrine? About all I hear of false doctrine is people casting scorn on the doctrine that we’re saved by Grace. I’m thinking Levi Peterson had some good points in response to that idea. Other than that, what are we going to hear that’s false and important? The Nicene Creed? That God doesn’t have a body after all? How about that Home Teaching is optional?

    I thought false doctrine was saved for HPG and BYU Religion classes.

  12. Awesome Dave
    September 24, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Rico #5 – The most extreme example I saw was a member who stood up and said he figured out the year and month Christ was returning by using astrology. Then he proceeded to explain the details of this precess for the next 10 minutes. An awesome thing one of my bishop’s would do was let them finish, and then stand up and correct anything said that was false. That way no one was censored, but false doctrine wasn’t taught.

  13. Martin
    September 24, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    I definitely feel for that bishop. Seeing that video made me angry. I sympathize with the speaker’s feelings regarding prop 8, but having it taped made me feel like someone was trying to set the bishop up.

    A speaker like that in testimony meeting is like a baby-sitter who decides the parents are too uptight and brings a forbidden video for the kids to watch. Even if the baby-sitter is right and contributes to the kids’ education, the behavior is disrespectful and betrayal of trust.

    I sure hope Remy (or whoever taped it) had more honorable intentions than what I’ve surmized.

    The whole point of having a presiding authority is for the authority to take responsibility for the content of the meeting. I thought the bishop did well.

  14. September 24, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    During a testimony meeting in Glendora California, an inactive guy who had clearly been drinking got up to give his testimony. The bishop let him ramble for a minute, but the second the F word came out of his mouth, the bishop kindly led him away from the pulpit.

  15. September 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I’ve frequently seen speakers during testimony meeting be asked to sit down as they started speaking in tongues or having spiritual “convulsions”. It is usually among our West African converts. I can only assume that that is how they perceive spiritual manifestations, and that it is incredibly uncomfortable to the white male bishopric. Interesting, considering that “we believe in the gift of tongues,” and that early church history has been marked with those sorts of manifestations, particularly in Kirkland.

  16. Porter Rockwell
    September 24, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    It is really tough when you are on the stand and have to make a decision like that. Keep in mind that Sacrament Meeting is a worship service, and there are plenty of other forums to make your point. This was clearly a set-up, this fellow arranged to have someone videotape him, hoping it would become a youtube hit. Very tacky to disrespect other members of your congregation, who came that Sunday only to worship, instead you turn their worship into your pawn to make your statement.

    I am in the Bishopric, and we had to help a member of our congregation sit down a few weeks ago. They were a teenage youth with some sort of special needs/emotional problems. The youth was talking, and got excited and started going a million miles and hour going through the tiniest details as she tried to relate a story. She got more and more excited, and talked faster and faster. Bishop and I whispered a couple of times to each other, wondering if we should get her down, but hoping if we held out another minute or so she would be done. Finally we got eye contact with her guardian, and shot him a questioning glance, he returned it with a “do it” kind of look, and the Bishop stood up and told her to wrap, she sad down a moment later. I was glad that she doesnt really have to social awareness to be embarassed, and the ward of course loves her, so there was no harm done.

    Because of the different motivations, this incident has little relationship to this incident other than to say that I can tell you, it is a really tough decision when you are up there and (in my case advising the) guy who has the ultimate responsibility for that meeting.

  17. Rocker Portwell
    September 24, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    I’m in the Stake Presidency, and I instruct everyone to disregard any comments wherein someone announces they are in a mere bishopric.

  18. sxark
    September 24, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    #17 – A defender of the ecommunicated John Remy who did not like the rebuke of #16?

  19. ThomasB
    September 24, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    In my youth (in the 70’s) I attended a ward in a downtown area in California. We had a young man in an out patient program get up in fast and testimony meeting and announce that he was the prophet. He kept rambling and was promptly removed by a rather large polynesian brother (the bishop had motioned to him) in the ward.

    Sam B.s post reminded me of when I was a Bishop and had an evangelical teen come and “minister” during testimony meeting. Most of what he said was harmless but when he told the congregation that they did not have to be baptized the “natives” were becoming restless. I let him know he needed to close at that point and thankfully he did. If we would have refused I would have had him removed physically or anyone else who decided that they were going to make the ward pulpit theirs for their own position. Sacrament meeting is not an open forum for opinion.

  20. Dan
    September 24, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    In Alaska, this guy came to fast and testimony meeting and started rambling incoherently from the New Testament. Nobody from the bishopric got up to stop him. He wasn’t preaching from the mic, so one other member got up and bore her testimony as this guy was still spouting off. He eventually had enough of someone speaking over him and he left.

    In Pennsylvania, during testimony meeting, one member got up and started talking about how she took her daughter and her daughter’s friend around the neighborhood doing all sorts of weird things, like throwing a dead raccoon on the car of the person who had angered her the previous day. Then they went on the freeway. Seeing some birds on top of a sign, she came up with an ingenious idea. See, she thought the birds were hungry. So she got a slab of meat and hooked it on top of the sign so the birds would eat it. No, she had her daughter get on her shoulders and put it up. This was on the freeway! She rambled on and on about these kinds of things, but no one got up to stop her. Eventually she decided she said enough and stepped down.

    In this particular incident, I am not bothered at all by the fact that this individual and his friends videotaped his last testimony. I think it was wise. I was disappointed that the bishop got up to stop him, and then turn off the mic. I don’t think that was classy. The man is not really saying anything disrespectful. He is speaking in a soft tone, and expressing his testimony as he sees it. I think it would have been better for the bishop to let him finish and let him go away in peace.

    If I were bishop, I would have pulled him aside right after he finished and said “I’m sorry you feel that way. Know that you are always welcome here, no matter the differences in views.” I then would have gotten up and said essentially that to the whole congregation. “I’m sorry that Brother Whatever his name is feels this way. Our doors will always be open to him, and I would ask all of us to help him realize that this gospel is open to all.”

  21. Dan
    September 24, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    It seems that in some wards, the priority is to protect the status quo of the members in good standing (i.e. those not in need of the Doctor). No one should feel unwelcome in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

  22. sxark
    September 24, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    The duties of a Bishop are immense and I would hesitate to suggest what I would do in any given situation, were I a Bishop – unless I had previously held that position.

  23. September 24, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    On my mission in Japan, I was asked to give a talk once. I got up there and really got into it. I was just launching into an explanation of how Jesus is the root of our faith – complete with a tree diagram I drew – when I feel a tug at my pant leg.

    I turn around and the Bishop is leaning over and whispering – “you’re over-time. We have to close the meeting.”

    I looked up and realized I was 15 minutes past the hour. Since I was only the second out of four speakers, this meant I’d been going strong for almost 45 minutes. I sheepishly concluded my remarks hurriedly and sat down while several of the members in the audience were obviously barely containing their snickering. My District Leader looked a little annoyed – since I had talked right over his allotted time.

  24. Porter Rockwell
    September 24, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    not sure that I get #17’s point, it was from another PR, is he trashing me for mentioning I am in the B-ric? I have posted hundreds of times on dozens of forums and never mentioned that before, but it was needed for context in this case. I say that because it seems the fake PR is implying that I am impressed with the position, I am not. Actually it is pretty sweet.. you never have to do anything but be the Bishop’s messenger boy, then if anyone asks you a hard question you say “I dont know, I will ask the Bishop, it is actually one of the easier callings that I have had.

    Plus I dont have to get the kids dressed Sunday morning, going to the meeting at 7am is way easier than getting those brats going. Also, I get to sit on the stand, and there is always a show going on in the chapel somewhere.. kid hitting each other, couples wearing their fights with their body language, etc, etc. It is pretty fun for peoplewatching.

    Whatever!

  25. Porter Rockwell
    September 24, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Oh ya, one more thing: Worst part about being in Bishopric– They made me a High Priest. Which means I have to home teach High Priests (dont have to go to their lesson, as I get to go in with the Aaronic Priesthood, which is great) That means when I visit, instead of talking about family, schools, Kids, sports and TV, all of which are interesting and was the topic for Elders quorum families, now we talk about their health problems, taxes and how bad the government is. It is dreadful.

  26. September 24, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Re #16 Porter Rockwell
    “Keep in mind that Sacrament Meeting is a worship service, and there are plenty of other forums to make your point.”

    This is what I don’t understand. Where is a single correct forum in the church to make a point like that (let alone “plenty”)? Is there an official complaint blog? Is that sort of commentary any more welcome in Sunday School or Priesthood than in F&T meeting? It’s certainly not in my ward! Is Homemaking (or whatever it’s called these days) night, at a home teaching lesson? Please disabuse me of my ignorance!

    In fact, this is at the root of many of my complaints. It’s not so much to me that the church has certain views and opinions, but rather that there is no place for anyone to dissent. Where are we to go who doubt the historicity of the BoM, or don’t like Prop 8, or don’t believe everything the prophet says? Is there room at church for our point of view? Or are we only welcome as long as we shutup and keep our dissenting views to ourselves?

    Personally, I wouldn’t do what this gentlement did in F&T meeting. I would probably try to nicely, quietly, and in a non-confrontational manner express my views. But where is the proper outlet within the church for a dissenting opinion? Or, is this why so many come to the bloggernacle (which is NOT official)?

  27. Porter Rockwell
    September 24, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Lets look at this from a faithful Mormon leader’s perspective, after all that’s who make the rules at Church, right?

    Scripturaly, dissention is of the Devil, and the Saints are commanded to be “as one”. Why would it make any sense for a faithful leader to set up an official place for dissention? That would be counter to the purpose of gathering as Saints n(gather strength from one another). Doctrinally the course of action is prescribed if you are doubting, or suffering from a crisis of faith — one is to read the Scriptures and Pray. No where, doctrinally, does it say to get together and chat about your doubts or problems. My GUESS is that the Lord meant for us to struggle through personal trials such as you mention privately.

    Since in this day and age open-ness is the norm, I get where this may not seem fair from the secular perspective, but the Church is not secular.

    By plenty of other forums I meant, talking to friends, talking privately to Church Leaders, the bloggosphere.

  28. N.
    September 24, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Re: asking people to get down.
    I’ve seen it probably 10 times. I’ve seen it for:
    – false doctrine (fiarly obvious cases)
    – talking way too long or over time
    – thank-amonies
    – travelogues
    – airing of personal problems/grievances
    – trying to commandeer the meeting
    – once (in Brazil) where a visitor enjoyed a long bout of glossolalia before being asked to stop

    To be fair, I’ve also had bishops that let some of the above slide and continue on in testimony meeting. Unfortunate, that.
    My last ward’s bishopric always spent 2 minutes before the meeting reminding people the purpose and focus of testimony mtg, and gave a great testimony to set the tone. They only ever asked people who were taking too long to stop. I credit their great example for that.

    Re: this particular video/testimony
    Coincidentally, I watched the video through yesterday. My opinion: grandstander. adolescent. Starting off your testimony with “I’ve never felt the spirit more than now in my life” and ending with (not quoting here, but summarizing) ‘I hate your politics and doctrine, and I quit’ isn’t a testimony. Doing that in the mtg is saying LOOK AT ME! PAY ATTENTION TO ME!

    The fact that it was recorded by a confederate and put on youtube is yet another example of the adolescent self-centeredness. His plan of public martyrdom has undoubtedly earned him a lot of “cred” in some circles, but the fact remains that it was childish and inappropriate. I’ve read a few posts about it around the bloggernacle (ugh), and a lot of commenters are giving him the “attaboy! show those bad people™ that they’re bad. you’re so brave!” treatment. Mission accomplished, I suppose.

    His bishop was right, his political point and resignation *aren’t* testimonies. He insisted they were and ignored the polite, face-saving alternative of taking the bishop’s invitation to end. Testimony meeting isn’t open-mic night. Even if it were, open-mic night *always* has a bouncer and he could have used one.

  29. N.
    September 24, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    oh, I forgot. I’ve also seen “faith promoting stories” from the internet stopped. and it was debunked immediately afterward by the bishopric member. Good times.

  30. sunnofabcrich
    September 24, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    #8 I’m not a mormon and was wondering what MUL stood for and also what was the reason the bishop didn’t want this guy to talk about the “exploits” of the engineer (not engineering) battalion from the Utah national guard? I am pretty interested in hearing about that because I was there when those engineers were there and your story leaves out quite a bit of detail as to what was “inappropriate?” enough to make the bishop cut it short.

  31. Ray
    September 24, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Sacrament meeting is a worship service, and I have read dozens (at least) of comments here in this forum by people who complain that our sacrament meetings need to be more spiritual – and that our meetings need to be less political. Criticism of this Bishop for doing what almost every critic of the Church says should be done in other threads (protect and encourage greater spirituality in our meetings) . . . Nope; I can’t do it.

    I think this Bishop handled this situation correctly – and that it was despicable to have a friend taping it. It’s a worship service, so I think the better question would be about those who would disregard and mock someone else’s worship in such a way. (Seriously, the person speaking knew it was being recorded, so he was doing it intentionally in a worship service to create a controversy. That really is despicable – something I wouldn’t dream of doing in someone else’s worship service.)

    I can’t judge the man and his cohort, but I certainly can condemn the action.

  32. brjones
    September 24, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    I have to (reluctantly) agree with Ray. While I agree with this individual in spirit, at the end of the day he wasn’t just sending a message to the church, he was disrespecting the beliefs of all the people in the meeting. I think if they hadn’t filmed it I would feel differently. I think his sharing of his feelings was appropriate, but the filming crossed a line. I personally have many problems with the church, but I either keep them to myself or I discuss them with friends and family in a civil way. And why? Not for the church’s sake, but out of respect for those I care about who love the church. That’s where this man probably went wrong.

  33. September 24, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    I have seen it a few times…but it really is quite predictable, because it’s the same sister who gets called down (so we know that if she goes up to speak, she’ll probably be asked to sit down.)

    I don’t even know why. It’s a kind, sweet old Polynesian woman…and sure she talks a lot about how she is so thankful to know she is a Lamanite (she believes 100% in the idea that Native Americans and Polynesians are descendants of the Lamanites)…and sure, she has idiosyncratic views of God and Jesus (seems to be mixed from Polynesian culture…I’m not versed enough to know where her theories come from)…ok, maybe that last part is pretty heretical.

  34. September 24, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Re: 27 Porter Rockwell
    “Lets look at this from a faithful Mormon leader’s perspective, after all that’s who make the rules at Church, right?

    Scripturaly, dissention is of the Devil, and the Saints are commanded to be “as one”. Why would it make any sense for a faithful leader to set up an official place for dissention?”

    I see what you’re trying to say, but no it doesn’t make sense to me at all. Or rather, it makes sense if the design of Mormonism is to be an exclusive club where only the “whole” get together to be “healed.” There are thousands and thousands of people in this church who have doubts, concerns, and who stumble on church history and become disaffected. Rather than providing an institutional form of dealing with this stuff and helping such people feel welcome in the fold, they are told, as you said, to pray, study scriptures. “Become like us” is the cry, rather than “let us widen the tent.”

    Imagine if we replace “dissension” with “teen pregnancy.” Isn’t premarital sex “of the devil” in a sense? Why would the church setup clinics and employ therapists to help those who have made a poor judgement? Because they care about these people and recognize they ought to be included in the church. They need help, not to be shunned. Why is it different for those with doubts and who disagree?

    I’m not arguing that Sacrament meeting is the place to discuss disagreements. I’m claiming THERE IS NO PLACE to discuss disagreements except with my (possibly naive, untrained, ill-equipped to handle historical concerns) bishop. To top it off, the church condemns the symposia which benefitted so many. Where should such people go? Are they not in need of “healing”?

  35. September 24, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Re Ray
    “Sacrament meeting is a worship service, and I have read dozens (at least) of comments here in this forum by people who complain that our sacrament meetings need to be more spiritual – and that our meetings need to be less political.”

    Amen to this!! Let it begin with no more letters about how we ought to vote on political/social issues regardless of how our doctrine views the issue. I certainly agree with having more spiritual meetings, but here in CA during the Prop 8 stuff many sacrament meetings, Sunday School lessons, and Priesthood meetings were used to push the specific agenda of voting yes on prop 8. So while I cannot condone the “eye for an eye” mentality, I can certainly understand what would drive someone to bring this back to the sacrament meeting table.

    It does not make sense in my mind to try to put myself into a position of “understanding” when the leaders and Brethren say stupid and/or offensive things, and then on the other hand condemn individual members, even critics for saying stupid/offensive things. If we are in the business of trying to understand people and have compassion on them (when we don’t agree with them) it seems like we ought to extend that courtesy to the anti-mormons as well as the Brethren.

  36. September 24, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    22 — I am in total agreement with what you’re saying here, and I extend it to say “And I thank God that I don’t have that responsibility, because I definitely don’t want it.”

  37. September 24, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Re Ray
    Having said all that, I hope I was being clear that I agree with the idea that it was disrespectful. I just think we could work harder at understanding what might have led to such a decision, just like we try to understand what leads the Brethren to say things that are clearly not doctrinal.

  38. sxark
    September 24, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    jmb275:

    Wouldn’t the “institutional form of dealing with this stuff” be Sunday School, Priesthood meetings, and Relief Society?

  39. sunnofabcrich
    September 24, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    OK, i’ve read about Porter Rockwell and this douchebag that sounds like he’s about 19 years old that uses that moniker, I’ve got to say if the LDS church puts you in charge of anything they’re obviously starved for talent… I’ve got more in common with Porter Rockwell than you do.

  40. sxark
    September 24, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    #39 – Could you say that again? – Are you saying, your #17 – or what?

  41. September 24, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Re 38 sxark
    “Wouldn’t the “institutional form of dealing with this stuff” be Sunday School, Priesthood meetings, and Relief Society?”

    You tell me. Is it working? Are fewer people becoming disaffected? Are fewer people disagreeing with the Brethren over Prop 8? Are fewer people coming to the bloggernacle to work out their doubts? Are fewer people complaining that there is “no room for them” in the church all thanks to Sunday School, Priesthood, and Relief Society? I know at StayLDS (a site dedicated to helping people who feel like they have nowhere to turn to with their doubts) we get several people joining EACH DAY to come work through their difficulties.

  42. sxark
    September 24, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    jmb275: re#41

    Well…,as the Church shoots foward- there will be those who fall by the wayside, because they have their own standards of learning.

  43. sunnofabcrich
    September 24, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Nah #40 I was annoyed by the stiff using the name Porter Rockwell post #17 was written by some pencil necked geek using the name Porter Rockwell, Rockwell drank like a fish and hit like a Ram had more braun than brains solved problems with guns fists and knives had long hair, swore etc etc in other words the douchebag using the name Porter Rockwell has about zero in common with him.

  44. sxark
    September 24, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    #43 – On my computor #17 is Rocker Portwell and #16 is Porter Rockwell. And #16 made more sense than #17. – So, which one are you critical of?

  45. sunnofabcrich
    September 24, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    ok the guy in #24 and #25… #17 didn’t really make any sense to me anyways…

  46. sxark
    September 24, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    So – back to #39 – I take it that you have been a member of the Bishopric before and you know what you’re talking about.
    Except – I don’t think any former member of a Bishopric would make those comments. So – your just spouting off – angry about something.

  47. Dexter
    September 24, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    I was in a sacrament meeting once where the bishop simply turned the mic off while a man was going on about his personal problems with church history. The man realized that the mic was shut off and he said, “I guess someone doesn’t want you to hear what I have to say” and he left the building shortly thereafter.

    In this case, I thought the bishop did an absolutely commendable job of speaking with the man in a civil way, allowing him to finish, but without the mic. Clearly, the mic was turned off. And regarding the gentleman who shared his views, while I think what he did was inappropriate to some extent, I don’t really blame him much. It seems to me that his ward was a meaningful community to him and he felt the need to share his deepest feelings on this issue. He said “I have never felt the spirit so strong” about this topic. He obviously had strong feelings about sharing it and I can’t blame him for wanting to share his feelings even if I disagree with the manner in which he shared them. These days, it would not be that difficult for him to put together a mass email or mailer to members of his ward. He did not have to do it in sacrament meeting. And I don’t agree that videotaping it makes it such an awful thing. Maybe this guy has a huge fear of public speaking. Maybe he felt so strongly about it and felt that he was doing the right thing that he wanted it recorded. I don’t think it’s fair to assume that the recording means his intentions were to brag about what he did or to trap the bishop in some way. That’s possible, but many here act like that is definitely the case. His tone of voice and his manner of speaking with the bishop seem to imply civility on his part, with a strong desire to state his feelings, with or without a microphone. And just to reiterate about the bishop, I don’t think it could have been handled better in any way.

  48. sunnofabcrich
    September 24, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    #46 if this guy who calls himself Porter Rockwell is actually some church leader validation would be pretty easy what ward what stake etc etc. You seem to show deference to the slightest mention that someone anonomous claiming to be such and such is… makes me wonder… If I were to throw around credentials I would say i’m in A co. 2/211th Avn Regt UTNG … So this guy, what’s he in charge of??? and no i’m not even a mormon so when somebody says hey i’m a bishop means nothing to me.

  49. sxark
    September 24, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    #48:

    I’ll show some deference – maybe. Until they cross the line that I have set up for my self, based on my frame of reference of reality – which may be in error from time to time.

    Actually, Porter did not say he was a Bishop. But I think I get your point. Most Bishops I’ve met have said they weren’t qualified for the job and their relatives and friends – who grew up with that new Bishop – would just hold their breath and hang on for the ride. And they watched their friend and relative grow into the position he was destined to fill. Such is the way of the LDS Church. And it happens all over the world – despite the critical analysis of non-members, who may one day be members and Bishops themselves.

  50. MoHoHawaii
    September 25, 2009 at 12:15 am

    If you turn your chapel into a precinct house, you shouldn’t be surprised if people come to give political speeches there. Seriously.

  51. sxark
    September 25, 2009 at 12:30 am

    MoHo:

    I think your right. But it does seem unavoidable at times. I remember when the ERA ammendment was the big deal. Bishops had to walk a fine line to keep the Ward on focus and not be distracted so much – despite the ‘official’ position of the LDS Church of being against that ammendment.

  52. interesting situation
    September 25, 2009 at 12:46 am

    I have to agree with Jorgy on this one. Who does bring a camera to church? This seems very orchestrated Someone happens to make a video in a meeting where videos generally aren’t made. Sure, if it’s a doctrinal talk and a family member might not have been able to attend, I’ve seen tape recorders or cameras, but rarely, maybe once or twice–less times than I’ve seen a bishop ask people to sit down (confessing sins that should be confessed in private). But a testimony meeting is impromptu. Speakers stand on their own so to have a camera in the chapel suggests that the person knew someone was going to make a statement in the meeting. The camera angle is from the pews, not a tripod and shaking from being hand-held, which suggests this person filming was selective about who they wanted to record. The camera caught the talk from beginning to end, so it wasn’t an impromptu moment where the person filming thought “oh my goodness, I need to get my camera and capture this.” No, this person caught the entire event from beginning to end.

    The speaker holds and reads from a paper in his hand, which demonstrates and proves that this was an event that at least one person planned. So that brings up the question, who does bring a camera to church? Or more to the point why did someone bring a camera to this church meeting? This was planned out and orchestrated. If the man had finished his talk, the video would have most likely been posted as “Mormons speak out against leaders in own meeting.” And if he should get interrupted, then it gets posted as an attack on a bishop for silencing his congregation. This video had one purpose, to make the church look bad.

    Here’s the thing: Political statements have always been refrained from the podium. Not only was this a political statement, but it was anti-doctrinal, not a testimony in spirit with what testimony meeting is about and it was a blatant, orchestrated attack on the church. There is no other valid explanation as to why a faithful church member would record another person’s image in a place of worship without at least that person’s permission. This video, is nothing but a choreographed assault to make church practices look bad.

  53. Nate
    September 25, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Main Street Plaza did an interview with the guy about this video.

    http://latterdaymainstreet.com/?p=833

  54. sxark
    September 25, 2009 at 1:11 am

    #52 – It is an ‘interesting situation’ when you find out that the ‘star’ of the video [John Remy] was excommunicated and had an ‘excommunication party’. [see Notes From All Over on the left side of preamble]

    The only question remaining is – did this video have anything to do with his excommunication? – or was it a pattern of things? I know it’s a private matter, but John Remy doesn’t seem to care at this point.

  55. sxark
    September 25, 2009 at 1:15 am

    OOPS! Goofed up real good. – My apologies to John Remy. Forget #54.

  56. Dexter
    September 25, 2009 at 1:20 am

    # 52

    You make a lot of assumptions. If this was such a premeditated attack on the church then why was it gathered from a blog of a man in newport beach, california. Why hadn’t we seen it on youtube if the whole point was to make the church look bad. You don’t know why it was recorded. It might have been to hurt the church. It might have been as a keepsake. Give me a break. And he prepared notes! How dare he prepare beforehand what he wants to say!?!?!?! Please.

  57. sxark
    September 25, 2009 at 1:23 am

    I will read the preamble 2 or 3 times before commenting. I will read the preamble 2 or 3 times before commenting. I will read the preamble 2 or 3 times bfore commenting. I will read the preamble 2 or ………………………….

  58. September 25, 2009 at 6:22 am

    I read Nate’s link, thanks. In other words, it was a set up and an intentional attack on the Church by someone who was intending to exit.

    So, is that the sort of thing that you would cut off, or the sort of thing you would let continue and when the self-congratulations start (as they do in the interview) would you focus on the hypocrisy and guile of same in a follow-up, using it for an object lesson?

    Or, a post at Mormon Matters encouraging people to think about where the general concept takes them?

    I like the post at Mormon Matters idea — and am glad to see Rico doing one.

  59. Rico
    September 25, 2009 at 6:30 am

    I certainly did not mean to give the impression that I was criticizing the Bishop. I was only trying to imagine what I would have done. I agree that bringing the video into the meeting was a little disrespectful.

    #6 – Alice I really enjoyed your comment. I think it your right that it does show perhaps a lack of spiritual maturity if we do allow these types of issues to bother us.

    I wonder if there is a cultural difference here. N. that you have seen it so manys times and I have never ever seen it happen, (maybe a note to an over-time speaker – but even then they went on). Maybe I should have divided the poll up by region. I wonder n places were the Church has been established for longer – stronger sense orthodoxy and organisational norms – may lead to this happening more.

  60. Porter Rockwell
    September 25, 2009 at 7:33 am

    To add a twist to this discussion–

    In his BYU Devotional last week President Monson said something like: “no problem that needs solving is more important than someone who needs loving” (I put quotation marks around that, but it was not a direct quote, it is from my memory) Does that mean one should not embarrass a fellow member by sitting them down just for the sake of preserving the decorum of a sacrament meeting?? That would be my take.

    In my mind that notion would only deal with someone who, for whatever reason, is “innocently” detracting the meeting, not someone who deliberately disrupts the meeting, like “Brother YouTube” who taped is apostacy for all to see and marvel at.

  61. alice
    September 25, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I continue to be amazed by people who think that gay Saints have had their lives subjected to judgment, condemnation and now an outright attack on their civil rights as Americans and should not be expected to push back. For me the amazing thing is that only a few do. …as opposed to the legions who live in despair, silently slip away or commit suicide. Is that all preferable to some among us?

  62. brjones
    September 25, 2009 at 10:05 am

    “Here’s the thing: Political statements have always been refrained from the podium.”

    This statement is patently false. The pulpit was a primary venue of the church in propagandizing and rallying political support for Prop 8, and this is not the first issue for which the church has blatantly made sacrament meeting an overtly political forum. Furthermore, I have never heard of any member being censured for speaking politically from the pulpit when the tone of their remarks was in support of the church’s stated political positions. Clearly, then, what you meant to say, Interesting Situation, was that political statements that disagree with the church’s politics have always been refrained from the podium. I would definitely agree with that.

  63. interesting situation
    September 25, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Dexter, besides the simple answer of if you read my post, you would see how these assumptions add up. Testimony talks do not come from notes. Sorry if you can’t understand that. I can’t tell you why he didn’t youtube it. Maybe the people don’t know how to use youtube. And you’re right they are assumptions, however, the assumptions add up a lot more than someone using a fully printed out sheet of paper that he’s clearly reading word for word from and would have to have been preprinted with as many words as he delivered for it to be handwritten on the spot.

    and as I mentioned, testimony meetings are impromptu. I’ve attended my fair shares and never have I seen anyone use notes to share their testimonies, with the exception of referring to letters from family and friends of the ward who are away, usually missions.

    They were clearly not notes he was just referring to.

  64. ESO
    September 25, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    I have only ever seen people asked to stop due to time.

    I have, however, seen rebuttal talks. In fact, an entire Sacrament Meeting devoted to rebutting one talk given by the local CES director. Quite amusing, really.

    I would guess that many, probably the majority of US Mormons would have been happy for this man to share his view in almost any other forum. It would keep us awake in Sunday School, I can imagine it being read and totally tolerable on a blog or ward liste serve. Yet I am sure a great many disaffected Mormons will go on and on about this being unfair and typical of those close-minded Mormons. Timing and audience–they are key.

  65. Saguaro
    September 25, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    In my ward I’ve seen the bishop get up twice to stop someone giving their testimony.

    The first one was a guy that was dating a single mother in the ward, he wasn’t a member of the ward though, I don’t remember exactly what he was rambling on about but when he starting talking about accusations of sexual abuse the Bishop jumped up, put his arm around him and whispered something in his ear, the bishop sat back down, the guy finished up with a quick but simple testimony, then left the meeting.

    The other time was a guy who was a recent convert and single, and trying very hard to get married. Apparently he had been trying to date a single lady in the ward but it went badly for him, so he started calling the whole ward to repentance, he also referred to lady he tried to date in a not so kind way but gratefully didn’t mention her by name. Eventually the bishop got up, put his arm around him, quietly talked to him for a minute, then he continued with a normal testimony then sat down.

    At either my misison farewell or homecoming, I can’t remember which, my brother spoke and rambled on and on, eventually someone had to tapped him on the back of the leg to give him a hint that it’s time to sit down.

  66. alice
    September 26, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Hmmmm…. Has LaJauna’s mike been turned off by Mormon Matters?

  67. September 26, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    #52:
    This video, is nothing but a choreographed assault to make [LDS?] church practices look bad.

    Even if that is true, the LDS church could only look “good” or “bad” based on the bishop’s reaction (and/or those in the congregation).

    If there is any truly “choreographed assault to make LDS church practices look bad,” it would be Mr. Monson’s singlehanded reversal of nearly all the public relations advances which took place under the Hinckley administration. To make it even better, Monson and his minions now proclaim that they’re being hailed as heroes by the masses, in order to make his “prophetic” mis-step look good.

  68. September 26, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    #63:
    Testimony talks do not come from notes. Sorry if you can’t understand that…..I’ve attended my fair shares and never have I seen anyone use notes to share their testimonies…

    I’ve seen people “read” their testimonies a number of times in LDS fast and testimony meetings. One or two of them actually explained that they had a tendency to “freeze” once standing at the pulpit, so they prepared what they wanted to say in order to get past that. I even was in a ward where one middle-aged man sang his testimony, complete with playing a guitar, because he had a disability which prevented him from speaking coherently, but for some reason singing bypassed that. We all knew about his condition, and it was entirely accepted for him to do things in his very unusual way. In short, we never know what we may see happen, let alone why it happens in the way it does.

    I’ve seen a bishop (in that same ward) ask an investigator to sit down in fast and testimony meeting. The young man had come to several church meetings, and participated thoughtfully in Sunday school and priesthood discussions. Evidently he was on meds, and forgot to take them on that particular F&T Sunday. He began to go on about black helicopters and freeway cameras designed to track individuals’ travels. Then he said that he could see who in the congregation were “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” and that a huge tornado was coming soon (not a huge leap in Illinois, I might add). The bishop asked him twice, gently, to wrap it up. Neither time worked, so the bishop had to be more assertive and bring this individual’s speech to a stop. We never saw the young man again.

  69. sxark
    September 26, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Nick re #67:

    You write in reference to President Monson: “….in order to make his ‘prophetic’ mis-step look good.” Could you explain what ‘prophetic mis-step’ President Monson made?

  70. Ray
    September 26, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Nick, Nick, Nick. 🙂

  71. September 26, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    #69:
    Could you explain what ‘prophetic mis-step’ President Monson made?

    Mr. Monson invoked the name of deity in order to pressure thousands of his followers to cash in their childrens’ college funds, give up their savings to buy a home, etc., in a politically-violent attack against the legal rights of individuals who don’t happen to share LDS views of moral behavior. Mr. Monson did this, evidently expecting that it would support his ongoing campaign (“ongoing” since his ascendancy to the first presidency under Hinckley, at which time he spearheaded unprecedented ecumenical actions for the LDS church) for acceptance of the LDS church as “christian” among so-called “mainstream” churches. Mr. Monson’s alleged spiritual connection failed, however, to reveal to him that millions of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours would ultimately fail to convince mainstream “christians” that all LDS are going straight to their imaginary fiery “Hell.”

    Mr. Monson also notably failed to donate any of his own money to the political cause he represented as a duty from diety, as witnessed by California donation records, which (thankfully) remain public record under that state’s constitution. In other words, Mr. Monson acted in a way which demonstrated that he felt no personal need to follow the direction he claimed to have received from deity–a rather remarkable position for a professed “prophet” to take.

    The result of Mr. Monson’s efforts has been open public contempt toward the LDS church. Where Gordon B. Hinckley’s many years of effort led to greater public acceptance of the LDS church, Mr. Monson’s political activism has painted the members of his faith (despite notable exceptions) as closed-minded bigots who wish to legislatively impose their religious views on those outside of their faith. The damage to the LDS church has been incalculable, and will likely take many, many years to heal.

  72. sxark
    September 26, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Nick re #71:

    WOW! Nick, – you have given plenty of allegations, [not backed up by references, who themselves would be challenged] to philosophers/theologins that would spend alot of time quibbling about.

    That being the case, I will side with President Monson’s point of view and all those who support him. For all you have done is just spout off. So, sorry – I don’t feel you made a case for any “prophetic mis-steps”. You just appear to be one who doesn’t like President Monson and/or his friends either.

  73. September 26, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Unsupported allegations? Really, sxark? You seriously question that Mr. Monson invoked the name of deity in directing LDS members to “do all they could” with their money and time, toward passing California’s Proposition 8? Have you been under a rock for the past year and a half?

    You seriously doubt that Mr. Monson failed to make a donation of his own money toward passing Proposition 8, after telling LDS members that their deity wanted them to do so? The public donation records are all searchable on the Internet, so check it out for yourself!

    You seriously doubt that LDS members were cashing in their kids’ college savings, and savings they’d set aside to eventually purchase a home, in order to be obedient to Mr. Monson’s claimed divine direction? A little skilfull Google searching will help you find the first-hand accounts of both, not to mention how “blessed” the people who gave up their future homebuying savings were sure they would be.

    You seriously doubt that the evangelical and so-called “mainstream christian” groups happily took LDS money and labor, but continued to consider LDS members hell-bound cult members? Again, do just a little bit of searching!

    You seriously doubt that Mr. Monson’s political activism has caused Americans to view LDS church members as closed-minded bigots? Once again, even the most rudimentary Internet searching will demonstrate that this is true.

    Of course, you suggest that any sources for any of the above “themselves would be challenged,” meaning that if they demonstrate the above “allegations” to be true, they must be devilish liars, right?

  74. Ray
    September 26, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Nick, sometimes you can let your emotions about a very personal and important topic get you over-heated. This is one of them. The last paragraph is so over-the-top it undermines everything else you have said, whether valid or not.

    I know this is deeply personal to you, and I know you loathe the Church’s actions with regard to Prop 8 (and I respect your passion), but laying it all at Pres. Monson’s feet as if he was the author of it and calling him a hypocrite for what you KNOW he can’t do – come on, man, that is beneath someone of your intelligence. If someone else had done so to someone with whom you agree, you would have skewered them for it – and rightly so.

    It also has absolutely nothing to do with the wonderful point and question of this post, and it would be a shame to turn this thread into another shouting match over Prop 8. Please, let’s not go there in this thread.

  75. sxark
    September 27, 2009 at 3:58 am

    Nick re #73:

    If you do not have a testimony as to the truthfullness of the foundation and present day activities of the LDS Church, then your ‘tirade’ is understandable no matter which way you want to slant it. Your not the first to do so, nor will you be the last.

    However, if you are a member of the LDS CHurch, I would advise you to consider changing your entire outlook concerning the General Authorities of the Church. For you may be in grave error with your analysis.

    As the LDS Church shoots foward in the 21st century, critics like yourself are simply left in the dust – unless they change and wish to join a most profound movement based on the absolute Truth provided by Jesus Christ and His Father in Heaven and by the power of the Holy Ghost.

    Ponder, study, and read the LDS standard works before laughing, scoffing, and ridiculing. – For only one’s soul is at stake in such a matter.

  76. Wendy E.
    September 27, 2009 at 4:51 am

    Todd is my brother. I know how deeply he felt about this testimony and yes he did write it out. I find it interesting that some people are making up stories: he wasn’t speaking loud enough, he had it taped to be a big hit on utube and the bishop was being set-up. Facts, the microphone was turned off and no he didn’t have it taped to be a big hit on utube. The taping from a cell phone was only of Todd until the bishop interrupted his testimony and then got into the picture. Todd had no ulterior motive. Only a testimony. I want you to know something about my brother. Even knowing the church did not except him as a gay man Todd loved the church. It was when the church became politically involved that with great saddness Todd felt he didn’t belong where he wasn’t wanted. My questions is, if the Mormon church had not asked (told) its members to give money to help pass prop 8 would my brother now have the right to marry another human being?

  77. Left Field
    September 27, 2009 at 6:39 am

    I must’ve been under a rock for the past year and a half. I wasn’t aware that President Monson or anyone else had asked me to do anything with regard to Proposition 8. The topic never came up in church. No letter from the First Presidency. I don’t think there were any instructions about it in the Ensign. What did I miss?

  78. Ray
    September 27, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Wendy, as I’ve said, I have no problem with his expressing himself. I’ve also said I understand why gay members leave – and I don’t blame them for it. However, you simply can’t get away from the fact the it was taped intentionally and then broadcast.

    I respect your defense of him, but taping it in Sac Mtg crossed an important line for me.

  79. Jon Miranda
    September 27, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Nick Literski
    You once mention that your Stake President thanked you for not breaking your covenants. If one exits the Church and enters the gay lifestyle, are they breaking their covenants?

  80. September 27, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Left Field in #77 — The First Presidency letters and broadcasts asking people to give their time and money to campaigning for Prop 8 were only in wards in California.

    When we had an anti-gay-marriage-and-anything-remotely-like-unto-it amendment in Virginia there wasn’t a peep from the church. Nothing telling us how to vote or to give money. There were people knocking on doors, but they weren’t Mormon. No statements read in Sacrament Meeting. Why not? Was it just because Virginia doesn’t have the kind of influence over the rest of the country that California tends to? Was it because Virginia isn’t Mormon country? Was it because the church knew that it would pass easily and they didn’t need to do anything to influence the vote?

  81. September 27, 2009 at 10:49 am

    #76:
    …calling him a hypocrite for what you KNOW he can’t do…

    Ray, why couldn’t Mr. Monson donate personally to a political cause, after telling millions of followers that deity wanted them to do “all that they could” to contribute their time and means? Surely you don’t suggest that Mr. Monson’s stipend is so meager that he couldn’t afford to do so? It would be equally bizarre to suggest that he couldn’t donate because a man of his standing mustn’t be seen “on record” regarding the issue. After all, he was certainly “on record” in a very public way, once he issued his letter. If there’s some other reason he “couldn’t” follow his own counsel, I’m missing it.

    #79:
    If one exits the Church and enters the gay lifestyle, are they breaking their covenants?

    Not according to the official position of the first presidency of the LDS church, Jon. The General Handbook of Instructions, not to mention the letters sent to those who direct their names be removed from LDS records, make it clear that the LDS church considers the prior ordinances and covenants “null and void” (their words). In their eyes, it’s as if I was never baptized, never endowed, etc.

  82. brjones
    September 27, 2009 at 11:07 am

    That’s interesting, Mytha. I suspect a lot of it did have to do with the probability that the measure would pass. I’d also be interested to know whether the Va. measure was prior to Pres. Monson’s tenure and how much of a shift in focus there has really been with respect to this issue under Pres. Monson as prepared to Pres. Hinckley.

  83. Left Field
    September 27, 2009 at 11:48 am

    #80: Yes, that was kind of my point.

    And as far as I can tell, the letter that was read in California did not “invoke the name of deity,” or claim that “their deity wanted them” to take any action, or claim a “duty from deity,” or make any claim to receive “direction” from deity on the matter.

  84. September 27, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    #83 – The letter said, “We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman.” The “we” being the First Presidency, including the President, who is THE PROPHET, who speaks for God. How is any believing Mormon supposed to take this, except as a request from God to donate time and money to this cause?

    #82 – The VA amendment was the November 2006 election. I remember hearing about my brother going to door to door for Prop 22 in CA, and feeling very relieved that the church had not made a statement about the VA one, because that meant I would be able to vote my conscience in good conscience. Sad to think that I once believed I should vote against my conscience if the church told me to.

  85. Left Field
    September 27, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Mytha, it may be that Mormons will understand the letter that way, but the assertion made here was that President Monson made active and explicit claims of divine direction. Note the active verbs used: “invoke” “claim” “telling” “represented.” To assert that Thomas S. Monson invoked, claimed, told, or represented something is a claim that President Monson made active and explicit declarations, not a claim of how the letter will be understood.

  86. brjones
    September 27, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Left Field, this is an absurd distinction. Again, whenever anyone goes against the words of the brethren, they are disobeying the word of god, but when the words of the brethren, even the prophet himself, are inconvenient, suddenly he’s just a guy chatting with his fellow parishioners and it’s up to the individual to interpret his words. There is no interpretation involved here. The first presidency spoke in their official capacity. That’s the same as god speaking himself and to act as if it could mean anything else is disingenuous.

  87. Left Field
    September 27, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Then the correct way to express that, brjones, is to explain it just as you did. But you don’t get to claim that Thomas S. Monson said something that he did not say.

  88. alice
    September 27, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I thought the original question was about censorship. And, despite what some here have responded about censorship/testimonies/finding the right venue for expressing unorthodox opinions, MM has censored LaJauna’s funny piece within days and no one sees any irony.

    I think that speaks louder than anything anyone has had to say.

  89. Dexter
    September 27, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    LaJauna’s piece was removed?

    Unreal. I shouldn’t have said how much I liked it. That couldn’t have helped.

    Perhaps MM should view pieces before posting them, that would make it look less foolish and more open minded than publishing a piece and then removing it.

  90. brjones
    September 27, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Left Field, I understand what you’re saying, but I think it’s a meaningless distinction. I don’t think Nick’s comments need to be read so narrowly as to mean that Pres. Monson literally spoke the words “god personaly said” something. Within the accepted mormon heirarchy that’s precisely what he said.

  91. Ray
    September 27, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    everyone, LaJuana’s post was not censored in any way. “Mormon Matters” didn’t do anything to it.

    I do think the assumptions expressed illustrate the difficulty of determining what happens and why and how biases and assumptions color perceptions of reality – which, ironically, does apply to both discussion threads of this post.

  92. alice
    September 27, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you for explaining that, Ray. But self-censorship is still censorship and it’s probably far more common and pervasive in Mormon culture. It also has the same effect of silencing alternative points of view.

  93. Ray
    September 27, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Btw, alice, I personally hated the post.

  94. alice
    September 27, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    And I thought the “righteous” saying “scr** you” to LaJauna were far worse than looking at some of the logical failings of the talk. ::shrug::

  95. Ray
    September 27, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    I never said I liked the comments – and I am ending my remarks at this point. Self-censoring, you know.

  96. wayfarer
    September 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    I get that there are a lot of people disgruntled with the church-mostly I seem to share your disgruntlement.But today I went to F/T meeting hoping to have my testimony strengthened by the faith and hope of others.It would have done me,and like as not many others whose mental,physical and spiritual health are friable,huge damage should the someone set about telling me their reasons why I should doubt my faith.It’s all I have to go on.

    If I wanted to find reasons not to believe,I can find them for myself.I don’t go to F/T meeting to find them.I would hope that a Bishop would try to protect me and others who are vulnerable from these events.I think that’s his role.

  97. September 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    To Ray and All the others that question Why this was video taped…First and foremost I want to Apologise to anyone That I have Offended By taping this testimony. As a Member of the Church for 40 years, I Respect the Fast and testimony meetings and would Never Tape a “Sacred” ceremony or anyone else’s Testimony and Publically Publish it, Or in any way slander the church. Our Father who has been so proud of his children had after several months of discussing the issue, gave me his blessing to give my testimony. he just turned 80 years old and lives 300 miles away. I made him a promise that He would be able to see his son give his Final Testimony to his home ward in Palm Springs California.
    After the Mic was cut I Personally decided to Air it on Youtube as I want others to see how the church treats one of their own on issues like these.I hope this answers your questions as to why, as far as it becomming popular everywhere else? I had Nothing to do with that…Again Im sorry if I have offended any of you good people. Todd Whitaker

  98. Eric
    September 27, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I’ve never seen a bishop cut someone off. But I do remember remember a few years ago when several people in their testimonies said that watching the film “The Passion of the Christ” intensified their appreciation for what Jesus did for us. The bishop felt it was inappropriate for anyone to attend R-rated films, much less praise them in sacrament meeting, and he said so in sacrament meeting the following Sunday.

  99. brjones
    September 27, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Todd, I hope you are able to find a place where you are valued and loved for who you are as a person, not by your potential to change yourself into what someone else thinks you should be. You deserve better.

  100. sxark
    September 28, 2009 at 12:54 am

    Todd Whitaker:

    Does the personal option remain that you could return to the LDS Church without the Church making any changes in its policy?

    This is a personal question that need not be answered here. But if you have a personal testimony as to the truthfullness of the Joseph Smith experience and that he was assisted by Heaven to bring forth this Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, – then why leave this inspired Church?

    Why not suffer, in agony, to death – as the Apostle Paul [11 Cor. 12:7] “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelation [I made], there was given me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Saten to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”

    For presently, you are now in the position described in D%C 43:18 [When Christ returns] – “….Ye Saints arise and live; ye sinners stay and sleep until I shall call again.”

  101. Dexter
    September 28, 2009 at 2:04 am

    Todd, I have been shouting to the deaf this entire time that just because it was recorded didn’t mean your intentions were bad. I have been proven correct, as usual. May you find happiness and success in your endeavors.

  102. September 28, 2009 at 2:36 am

    To Xsark and others of the shared Opinion: After Witnessing first hand the One sidedness of this church I have realised that in the Bible it states that Satan would Force everyone to follow his plan, After all thats been said and done, I cannot anylonger believe in Joseph smith’s Story, in fact I find him to be a complete Fraud of the 19th Century, Most everything in Mormonism Contradicts itself and Or the bible. My Own Family Members Cannot and WILLNOT think outside of what that institution teaches them wether it be right or wrong…I believe in christ, But Christ Does not dwell in The Mormon Church, He dwells in Our Hearts … I almost think that Satan was the Salamander that Joseph smith First saw when he removed the rock that the seer stone was contained in. The Absolute darkness which Joseph smith himself describes in his account of the first vision resembles the work of a Darker Power, Not of God as I was once taught to believe…If they teach you that I am a sinner and I need to repent for being Todd whitaker, and they cut off my mic and Not allow me to speak the truth, then I cannot believe in Anything That church has to offer….Todd Whitaker

  103. September 28, 2009 at 2:54 am

    Oh and By the way, whenever Anyone tells you that Your soul or your salvation is at stake, Dont BUY IT, Its a Brainwashing technique widely used by Many Cults across the globe’ Even Jim Jones told his followers the same thing and if they Did’nt drink the Poison Punch they would Loose their soul and eternal salvation. Folks there IS NO PLACE for Dissent in the mormon church Unlike many other respectable religions that will Allow you to speak freely, The example you see in this video speaks for itself…The Mormon Church is Loosing thousands of members each year because of their intolerance to 21 century Lifestyles, it was only since 1978 that black people were allowed in the building without being asked to leave…something to think about’ I doubt Christ would have ever turned Anyone away especially because of the color of his skin..I could only hope I have given other Gays in the Mormon church the Courage to leave It and Find Eternal Life Elsewhere, I sure wouldnt want to be around a bunch of Sober Bigoted Racist Homophobes for all of eternity..Thanks for reading

  104. Rico
    September 28, 2009 at 3:07 am

    Todd thank you for expressing your side in this conversation. I think your reasons for taping it are genuine and I can understand your feeling of being upset after what happened. I still disagree with your posting it on youtube eventhough I personally admired your courage. However, this does not mean that I think what you said was wrong or inappropriate. I too wish you all the best.

  105. sxark
    September 28, 2009 at 3:13 am

    Todd:

    Very well: It appears that you still believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, which is well with you.

    Somehow, this brings to mind a question we would ask, as youths: Can God do anything? – We would answer, Yes!
    Can God make a square circle? And then we would go around and around about this, because the answer would be – No!
    Then the person would say: “See – God can’t do everything!”

    Fast foward, as one is on their way to the final judgement, and a small Angel approaches and asks: “Hey – you wanna see how God can make a square circle?” – before you can answer, he shows you how it is done. You stand there for a long two seconds, close your eyes briefly and give yourself a slight tap upside the head with your hand and exclaim: “Well, if your going to look at it THAT WAY!………and your mind wanders off, wondering as to how it was – that you didn’t think of things THAT WAY.

    So, at least, keep your options open.

  106. sxark
    September 28, 2009 at 3:32 am

    Allready , it starts, re:#103

    Blacks were never asked to leave the Church building because they were black. As time goes on, more and more misperceptions about the Church will manifest themselves. Thia is nothing new. It’s happened before, it will happen again.

    As one is tested as a metal in a fire, there will be those that fall away from the Church. It will get worse before getting better. Hopefully, those that fall away – can find a way back, should they have a change of heart. Keep the options open.

  107. September 28, 2009 at 6:33 am

    #100:
    But if you have a personal testimony as to the truthfullness of the Joseph Smith experience and that he was assisted by Heaven to bring forth this Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, – then why leave this inspired Church?

    There are many who believe Joseph Smith’s prophetic claims, yet do not believe that the LDS church is currently led by divine inspiration. Your question is really a complete non sequitor.

  108. Jen
    September 28, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Todd-

    “Our Father who has been so proud of his children had after several months of discussing the issue, gave me his blessing to give my testimony. he just turned 80 years old and lives 300 miles away. I made him a promise that He would be able to see his son give his Final Testimony to his home ward in Palm Springs California.”

    With all due respect Todd, if your father wanted to hear you testimony, could you not have bore it to him at his home and forgone recording it all together? What if everyone starting thinking that they would like to record their testimony in church so their parents who live across the country could see you bearing it? It’s a matter of respect to turn off cell phones and not record things in Sacrament meeting.

    Also, I am curious, what testimony are you talking of, because you state clearly that you don’t believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints. So, really it wasn’t a testimony you were trying to bear, but a point you were trying to make? You could have easily made a recording outside of a Sacrament meeting and posted it on YouTube. It is interesting that you knew exactly what you were doing, yet you are more concerned about how you were being treated than about the lack of respect you were showing and the uncomfortable position in which you put the bishop. If you don’t believe in the church, why were you even there in the first place? What your saying just doesn’t make any sense, but sounds more like excuses to try and justify what you did.

  109. Jen
    September 28, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Should be: “could see THEM bearing it, not you bearing it”

  110. Jeff Spector
    September 28, 2009 at 8:54 am

    It seems that the posts of #102 and #103 add to the bizarreness of the whole episode.

  111. alice
    September 28, 2009 at 9:09 am

    It seems that the posts of #102 and #103 add to the bizarreness of the whole episode.

    Why? Do you really think it’s better to discuss the appearance of what happened and the conjecture and speculation it’s generated without hearing from the principal? Honestly?

  112. brjones
    September 28, 2009 at 9:33 am

    #108 – Jen, who are you or anyone else to tell another person what is or isn’t a testimony? Obviously he wasn’t bearing his testimony of the church, but testimonies are very personal and one can have a testimony of many different things. It was always a frustration for me that when it comes to LDS meetings, if everything doesn’t go 100% according to the traditional script, people begin whispering “heresy.” So someone filmed his testimony with a cell phone. Big deal. Are members asked to turn off their phones in sacrament meeting? Yes. But how many members in every single sacrament meeting in every single ward around the country, if not the world, ignore the speaker to play games, text, check email, surf the internet, etc., on their phones, and yet somehow this person, who was paying complete attention to the speaker, is out of bounds, next level disrespectful because he recorded the speaker on his phone camera. I don’t have a problem with members being bothered by this video, but I wish people would just be honest about why they’re bothered. He ripped the church and made some harsh accusations against it. It’s fine for you to be upset by that. I find it impossible to believe, though, that anyone would find the energy to be offended or accuse someone of being seriously disrespectful if they had filmed someone’s orthodox, traditional testimony, on their cell phone, or even if they posted it on the web. The real offense is the content of his remarks. Why not just admit it?

  113. brjones
    September 28, 2009 at 9:34 am

    #110 – What does this mean?

  114. September 28, 2009 at 9:50 am

    While I sympathize with your position Todd, I can’t help but think that this whole stunt was really way to get attention. I guess I understand that desire. Many people leave the church only to fade off into the background, without anyone noticing you are gone. I’ll bet that some of those people wish they could tell everyone why they are leaving, try to get someone to notice, possibly make people feel bad for how they treated them etc. It doesn’t have to be for revenge, but for some kine of acknowledgement. I really think this is what this stunt was about. I really can’t blame you, and I often had dreams about standing up to bullies at school or getting in front of the school and publicly say something against all the bullies or something.

    I guess there is no real place for people like Todd for airing out their problems before members of the church. Should we hold a “air out your grievences-amony” meeting? I don’t think so. I don’t think there should be any public church sponsored place to air out problems like this. I think that is what Sunstone is for.

  115. Jen
    September 28, 2009 at 9:51 am

    brjones-

    That’s funny that you are saying to me to “just admit it” because I was thinking the same thing about Todd. Why doesn’t he just admit what he was doing instead of trying to say he was bearing his testimony for his dad or that he didn’t decide to post it on YouTube until after the way he was “treated badly.”

    As far as who decides what a testimony is, the church has given guidelines as to what members should focus on when they testify in fast and testimony meetings, so I am not the one who is deciding, the church has given specific direction on this matter.

    As far as people not turning off their phones in Sacrament, just because they aren’t doing it, doesn’t mean it is ok. It is disrepsectful to have a phone start ringing in the middle of a meeting, just as it is to have people checking e-mail, texting, etc. C’mon brjones, that is just common sense and you know it.

  116. Jen
    September 28, 2009 at 10:00 am

    “I don’t have a problem with members being bothered by this video, but I wish people would just be honest about why they’re bothered. He ripped the church and made some harsh accusations against it. It’s fine for you to be upset by that. I find it impossible to believe, though, that anyone would find the energy to be offended or accuse someone of being seriously disrespectful if they had filmed someone’s orthodox, traditional testimony, on their cell phone, or even if they posted it on the web. The real offense is the content of his remarks. Why not just admit it?”

    I find his disrespect for the worship service far more bothersome than what he said. I get really irritated when people don’t use appropriate avenues for protesting. It does them a great disservice and some who may have listened to them, disregard what they have to say because they show such a deep lack of respect for things that they consider sacred and holy. I think it is important to realize that when people have differences, the way to discuss them is in a civilized, respectful manner, not to infringe on another’s worship service, blantantly doing things that THEY KNOW will be inappropriate in that setting.

  117. brjones
    September 28, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Jen, I don’t totally disagree with you about the venue for protesting. There’s no question that it was disrespectful, to some degree, to the others in that meeting. At the same time, I think you have to balance the minor disturbance that was caused in that particular meeting against what Todd and others in his situation perceive has been perpetrated against them. Obviously many, if not most people in the church would disagree with his interpretation of the church’s actions, but by any measure I think what was at stake with respect to his comments FAR outweighs the minor fuss that was caused by his using an inappropriate venue to air his feelings. Additionally, as has been pointed out several times in this thread, it’s easy to say he should have used a different forum, but the church doesn’t provide an alternate forum for such complaints. If his goal was to make his statment to other members generally, or the members of his ward specifically, exactly how else what he supposed to do it? I realize that people might not want to hear what he had to say, but I think it’s not really accurate to say he could have done this someplace else.

    With respect to #15 – my point wasn’t to say that no one thinks other cell phone activity is disrespectful, but merely to point out that it’s not considered that big a deal. Undoubtedly any LDS member who was asked would agree that texting, etc. are disrespectful activities, but I don’t see anyone getting hot under the collar about it the way they are with this incident. And I don’t think it’s just the use of a camera in Sac. Mtg that raised the level of people’s outrage. Again I would contend that if someone recorded a member’s testimony, the content of which was standard, orthodox mormon fare, I can’t believe anyone would be all that upset about it. I think the content is what really differentiates this situation for most members who are upset about it. I’m not saying anyone would be wrong to feel that way, just that there’s too much focus placed on his physical actions. Change the message and I just don’t think anyone would care.

  118. brjones
    September 28, 2009 at 10:58 am

    I might also add that in California wards throughout the Prop 8 campaign, sacrament meetings, EQ meetings, RS meetings and Sunday School meetings were regularly used as inappropriate political forums by those pounding the pro-Prop 8 drum, and I have heard very little complaining about it. In many instances these meetings were used as platforms to “out” members of the ward as heretics and apostates who were either not seen to be sufficiently supporting the measure or who had made clear they did not agree with it. This lends weight to my contention that it’s really the message that is offensive to most members. When fellow members are politicking from the pulpit for something with which they agree, there is really no complaint.

  119. Jen
    September 28, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Brjones, I agree the church doesn’t provide an alternate forum for complaints, but my struggle is to understand why he felt the need to complain to a bunch of people who can’t do anything about it anyway? Even if the majority of the members of the church decided to leave the church over Prop 8, do you really believe that the church would change its views? I don’t, because they do things according to the timetable of the Lord (as they feel led and guided by Him) when it comes to doctrine, so disrupting a meeting really does no good except to help him feel noticed for a moment. If he wanted an alternate way to express himself to ward members or friends he could write an e-mail, invite them to his home to talk to them, write a typed letter and mail it, etc. I think there are a lot of members who feel this subject is a really difficult one and they are doing the best they can to deal with it. In other words, it is not easy for most people in the first place, so trying to make them feel uncomfortable in church may cause them to feel more negatively than postive and help sway their views against him, not for him.

    FWIW, it would bother me if someone was recording ANY testimony. Of course, I think it is ridiculous that people feel they can’t turn off their phone for 70 minutes in church. We have been attending church meetings for years without cell phones and we all made it through without having to call someone or text them. So, even if you changed the message, know that I would care if someone was recording it. 🙂

  120. brjones
    September 28, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Again, I don’t totally disagree with you about the venue/forum issue. Although I agree with his position on the issue, I don’t personally understand the need to make such statements to a room full of people that will not only almost universally disagree with you and reject your message, but will also develop hard feelings for you as a result. That said, I don’t know what’s in Todd’s heart, and I can give him the benefit of the doubt that he was simply conveying his feelings to his extended ward family; people for whom he truly cares. On the other hand, if he just wanted to take a parting shot at the church or make an effective protest, then I think he probably picked an effective way to do it, and his actions have certainly stirred the debate. Again, I’m NOT suggesting that’s what he did, especially as he has indicated otherwise.

    As an aside, in my last ward there was a guy who brought his laptop to church and surfed the web the entire time during sacrament meeting, every week, right out in front of god and man. I wondered if he wasn’t maybe researching a lesson or something, but when I caught a peek he was on espn.com. Brash; very brash.

  121. September 28, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    WOW, All I Have to say is that You are all entitled to your opinions as Am I, But One thing I feel I must Address is the Black Issue…I Personally Witnessed at the age of 10 years old the Bishop asking My Friend Jerome To Please LEAVE a sacrament meeting we were attending together as he was beiing watched by my family for that weekend while his Mom & Dad went away. I will Never forget that moment or the way he was treated…My father explained that we should have never brought Jerome to the meeting…So as a personal Expierience I can Tell you I Have seen First Hand How Blacks were treated prior to 1978, in a strange way this church has manisfested its hate in other venues towards different minority groups..Yes this Video Was a TRUE testimony and I was a Tithe Payer of the church for 40 years, As a FINAL Testimony I dont think Bearing it in my father’s home would have the same effect, He was in tears of Joy when he saw what his son said that day as it was Honest..So go do your research and see the truth, You may be ignoring it as the truth usually come with some pain, but this church that I Once believed in Doesnt believe in Myself or others like me and prior to 1978, Black people WERE asked to Leave the building, at least they were in my ward..So Please Do some research before making an ignorant statement like that, and as far as comming back? Why Come back to the hand that “BEATS YOU”? Totally rediculious im my opinion when there are so many other churches on earth that preach the gospel of jesus christ and Christian Brotherly Love for your fellow man..Thanks for reading

  122. September 28, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    #116:
    I find his disrespect for the worship service far more bothersome than what he said. I get really irritated when people don’t use appropriate avenues for protesting. It does them a great disservice and some who may have listened to them, disregard what they have to say because they show such a deep lack of respect for things that they consider sacred and holy. I think it is important to realize that when people have differences, the way to discuss them is in a civilized, respectful manner, not to infringe on another’s worship service, blantantly doing things that THEY KNOW will be inappropriate in that setting.

    Yes—just like when that ancient rabble-rouser, “Jesus of Nazareth,” decided to protest the longstanding, respected behavior of money-changers and merchants in the Jerusalem temple! How dare he infringe on the worship services taking place there? Anyone with an ounce of respect for others knows better than to walk into a place of worship, braid a whip, and then create a huge public spectacle by physically assaulting the worshippers in order to drive them out of their services! The uproar he caused was SO inappropriate!

  123. September 28, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Nick, Im sorry you feel that way, but Delivering a “CALL TO ARMS” letter IN sacrament for the Mormon church members to take away MY right to marry Is Also VEry Disrespectful and Inapropriate in my opinion, I Belonged to that ward, I Paid tithes and fast offerings, I Grew up in that ward,The Leadership of the church should NEVER have used the pulpit to further their Political agenda to take away rights that Myself and so many other californian’s have fought so hard to get…I feel It was Very Respectful and needed to be said’ That Being said, Remember truth comes at the Price of Uneasyness and discomfort, but truth cannot be denied Not here Or anywhere else….This time They chose to Extinguish My rights as an American, Not a Mormon and that crosses a Line with Me…No Disrespect Intended..Todd W

  124. Rigel Hawthorne
    September 28, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Umm….wasn’t Nick writing in support of you Todd?

  125. Rigel Hawthorne
    September 28, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    btw Nick, I have a question for you. Weren’t the records of those who donated to Prop 8 limited to donations of $1000 or more? If you wanted to make a donation without being identified, wasn’t it possible to limit your donation to $999?

  126. Jen
    September 28, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Nick-

    You’re lack of respect is exactly what I am talking about. Do you really expect people to listen to you when you just throw out sarcastic remarks? Just because people disagree doesn’t mean you have to trample all over things that are sacred to them to make a point. You can be respectful and talk in a civilized way when you disagree with others and when you do, it is much more likely they will be interested in listening to you and trying to understand things from your perspective.

  127. September 28, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    #123:
    Todd, please go back and re-read what I posted in #122. You missed the point, my friend. As an openly gay man, I personally applaud your testimony.

    #125:
    Weren’t the records of those who donated to Prop 8 limited to donations of $1000 or more? If you wanted to make a donation without being identified, wasn’t it possible to limit your donation to $999?

    Actually, the public disclosure trigger is $100 or more. While it’s true that Mr. Monson could have donated $99.99, one would naturally ask why he would feel any need to avoid public disclosure in that way, since he had already been quite public in rallying the anti-gay troops.

    #126:
    Jen, now that you’ve quickly leapt to full-blown “religious indignation” mode, perhaps you can address the valid point which I made. You suggested that it is inappropriate to protest in a place of worship and/or disturb worshippers. I pointed out that your claimed exemplar, did precisely that. I would invite you, therefore, to explain the fact that Jesus of Nazareth quite famously violated your rule of conduct, without facing your condemnation. It would be even more helpful if you can explain the difference without simply resorting to “Well, he’s Jesus, so he can do anything he wants to.”

  128. Jeff Spector
    September 28, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    #113,

    “#110 – What does this mean?’

    It is certainly one thing if you decide you can’t stay in the church because of the position on homosexuality and the prop 8 thing. It’s an another thing entirely when the anti-Mormon rhetoric starts. And the BS about the Blacks in Church is beyond belief.

  129. Jen
    September 28, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Nick-

    I love the way that you’ve judge me as being full of religious indignation. You’ve given several people here a good laugh…thanks! 🙂

    Is it your belief that Jesus was a perfect man or not? I am not going to start trying to compare Todd to Jesus. Jesus didn’t violate my code of conduct, the temple was His Father’s house…HIS house and He had every right to drive them out of His house for wicked behavior. As a perfect man, the Son of God, His words and actions were perfect. Wow, that’s pretty simple. If you don’t believe that, so be it. Sorry if you can’t see the difference between Jesus and Todd.

    You have an interesting approach to people. More than not, I see you making rude or sarcastic remarks to others, rather than trying to understand their view while trying to express yours in a decent manner. You intentionally look for an argument and I have no interest in playing your games. I’m curious, if I am in religious indignation mode, what does that make you?

  130. September 28, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    129:
    Is it your belief that Jesus was a perfect man or not?

    It is my belief that “perfect” is a term subject to a variety of meanings in English, let alone Greek. It is also my belief that we have no objective record of the behavior of Jesus of Nazareth, let alone his thoughts. Ergo, this is not a question which can definitively be answered, other than as a matter of faith.

    Jesus didn’t violate my code of conduct, the temple was His Father’s house…

    Then the temple is also Todd’s father’s house, my father’s house, and your father’s house. Therefore, it seems odd that you would condemn Todd.

    As a perfect man, the Son of God, His words and actions were perfect. Wow, that’s pretty simple.

    In other words, you’ve found no other justification for Jesus’ behavior, other than “it was okay because he was Jesus.” That’s fine, Jen, so long as we’re all understanding that this is your only real criteria.

    I’m curious, if I am in religious indignation mode, what does that make you?

    I am in a non-religious questioning mode, which evidently is extremely threatening and offensive to you, Jen.

  131. brjones
    September 28, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    #128 – Thanks for the clarification, Jeff. I can’t fault anyone for being bothered by the allegations about blacks in the church. If Todd really did have that experience then that is extremely unfortunate, but undoubtedly an anomaly.

  132. brjones
    September 28, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    #129 – Jen, the problem with the construct you’ve set up is that by your rationale, no one can ever justify anything by claiming to emulate Jesus, because any time he did anything that might be unseemly for the rest of us, you just say “well we know he was perfect, so if he did it then it must have been ok for him.” I see where you’re coming from, but isn’t the whole point that we’re supposed to be able to use Jesus’s life as a model for ourselves? Obviously there are limits, like claiming to be the son of god, for example, is obviously proprietary to Jesus. But in terms of how we should act, it seems problematic to say to someone who is tryingn to emulate Jesus, “it was ok for Jesus, based on nothing other than we know he was perfect, but it’s wrong for you.” That is backward logic. If you can’t find reasonable or doctrinal supports for the things jesus did then there is something amiss, and glossing it over by invoking his putative perfection doesn’t help anyone who is trying to use his life as a guide.

  133. sxark
    September 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Todd re #121:

    “Why come back to the hand that ‘BEATS YOU’?” – Because it’s the only Church that can assist you in straightening out your missperceptions and will provide a path for you to live with our Heavenly Father. You and your female spouse will also be given the opportunity to start your own universe. All that is required on your part is faith and genuine repentance.

    The road is strewn with those who had their feelings hurt and left the Church. You want to throw this opportunity away? Go Ahead.

  134. Heber13
    September 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Wow, sxark. That was a very un-Christlike response. It saddens me to see brothers treat brothers this way.

    Todd, I hope you see not all mormons feel that way.

  135. brjones
    September 28, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    #133 – Seriously sxark, that was uncalled for.

  136. sxark
    September 28, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Heber13:

    Boo-Hoo.

  137. Heber13
    September 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    #36. Your highly intellectual and mature response has clearly bested me in that debate. I bow to your superiority.

    Anyhoo…back to the topic of bishops asking some to sit down.

    One thing I haven’t heard mentioned is the issue of authority and presiding in the meeting.

    It is not a democracy, it is not an open forum for anyone to say anything they want. It is an organization to try to uplift people and bring the spirit to touch our lives and help us improve.

    Whether I agree with the presiding officer using the time to talk about Prop 8 or not, it is not my place to correct him openly and publically. I don’t have to agree with him, but I can handle dissenting opinions in other ways.

    If the bishop feels someone needs to stop speaking, it is their right as presiding officer to make that call, and we should respect that, regardless if we agree with it or not.

    All things must be done in order. There is a time and place most appropriate for things. It is not an easy thing to decide that, which is why I sustain leaders and often feel for them.

    The social issues are deeply emotional and difficult to understand. But we can try to make a place for them orderly.

  138. Jen
    September 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    #130-

    “It is my belief that “perfect” is a term subject to a variety of meanings in English, let alone Greek. It is also my belief that we have no objective record of the behavior of Jesus of Nazareth, let alone his thoughts. Ergo, this is not a question which can definitively be answered, other than as a matter of faith.”

    It is my belief that we can learn of Jesus through prayer and as we strive to have His Spirit, we can come to emulate Him by carrying His Spirit with us. I know you don’t believe this, but I do. Yep, you’re right, it is a matter of faith and I have a lot of it. God is someone we can know and we can communicate with, and I already know that you cannot definitively prove this, and I’m not trying to.

    “Then the temple is also Todd’s father’s house, my father’s house, and your father’s house. Therefore, it seems odd that you would condemn Todd.”

    I don’t compare myself to Jesus in anyway. He was the Son of God, in other words, He was part God. There is no one else on earth that has ever taken that role. He and the Father were one. Whether you believe that or not is fine, but I do. As far as condemning Todd, I feel like I expressed my views respectfully without name-calling or sarcasm. Too bad he can’t say the same: “I sure wouldnt want to be around a bunch of Sober Bigoted Racist Homophobes for all of eternity..” (comment #103 Todd)
    Interestingly, I don’t find you saying anything about his condemning comments towards Mormons.

    “I am in a non-religious questioning mode, which evidently is extremely threatening and offensive to you, Jen.”

    What evidence is there that I am extremely threatened and offended Nick? Don’t take credit for something you aren’t capable of doing. I have a lot thicker skin than that and you don’t scare me at all, nor have I wasted any time getting offended. I grew up with a stereotypical military father….you’re like a kitten compared to him.

  139. Jen
    September 28, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    #132-

    brjones-

    “But in terms of how we should act, it seems problematic to say to someone who is tryingn to emulate Jesus, “it was ok for Jesus, based on nothing other than we know he was perfect, but it’s wrong for you.” ”

    If you want to support Todd’s behavior, I have no problem with that. Honestly, I see it as a stretch trying to compare Jesus cleansing the temple to Todd filming his Prop 8 speech and putting it on YouTube, but to each their own. I don’t think it is wrong for Todd to express his views, just not in Sacrament meeting where others are expecting to worship and be edified. He obviously had motives that were beyond doing that. I can understand that when a person leaves the church it can be a painful process and some people want to make a loud, attention getting exit. After they leave too, sometimes they can’t seem to stop talking about the church and they keep living their life as if they can’t let it go. I try to understand those people, but sometimes I don’t think they are looking for understanding, I think they are looking for a fight. It is too bad.

    “If you can’t find reasonable or doctrinal supports for the things jesus did then there is something amiss, and glossing it over by invoking his putative perfection doesn’t help anyone who is trying to use his life as a guide.”

    I don’t feel like I am glossing anything over brjones. I have a continual relationship with the Lord and I learn more and more as I continue to pray and get closer to Him. This is something that doesn’t fit under reasonable to you or Nick, but to many people they feel they can learn about Him, why He did what He did, and How He thinks through prayer and recieving answers. Many things aren’t written in the scriptures and if that is all you base your learning of the Savior and the Father on, then I can see why you would have a problem. We just have different belief systems.

    The reality is there are no satisfactory answers when you don’t believe in God. I don’t feel that I need to try and give you or any other non-believer answers because you have already reached your own conclusions. I think at times, you try to set people up because you are convinced that they have no answer that will satisfy you, therefore you feel a small victory. I don’t look at this as a game though, I am seeking to understand others with different perspectives and it makes it a lot more difficult to do so when the others aren’t interested in doing the same.

  140. brjones
    September 28, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Jen, that is a fantastically unfair statement. Just because people are critical of the logic that you use doesn’t mean they’re not also trying to understand others’ perspectives. Frankly, you have no right to judge my motives or anyone else’s, especially when self-servingly juztaposing them against your proclamations that of course that’s all you’re trying to do. I have been very civil toward you in this conversation, and to have you tell me point blank that just because I don’t share your beliefs I must naturally be playing games and setting traps, is highly insulting. I don’t share your beliefs but I do have my own strongly held beliefs, and I suspect that you have as difficult a time understanding my reasoning as I do you. The difference is I have not once impuned your motives. You can’t expect to put forward a position in this forum without having it challenged. That’s kind of the whole point. As long as people are civil I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt. I am very interested in understanding as well as debating others’ positions, and I really resent your last comment.

  141. September 28, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    #139:
    Honestly, I see it as a stretch trying to compare Jesus cleansing the temple to Todd filming his Prop 8 speech and putting it on YouTube, but to each their own.

    The comparison isn’t “Todd vs. Jesus,” Jen. I simply used Jesus’ temple incident to point out that it’s not always “inappropriate,” (as you put it) for a person to protest in the midst of a worship setting. The fact is, Jesus’ protest was far more dramatic than Todd’s, even to the point of physical assault on worshippers. In addition, seeing that the event made it into writings which would be deemed sacred was about as close to “putting it on YouTube” as anyone in the first century A.D. could get, don’t you think?

    I don’t think it is wrong for Todd to express his views, just not in Sacrament meeting where others are expecting to worship and be edified.

    What if Todd’s words were edifying to some of those in the congregation, Jen? Suppose just one parent in that congregation was considering kicking their teenage son out of the family home for being gay–something that happens far more often than you might imagine among religious families, including LDS. What if Todd’s words were just what that parent needed to hear, in order to wake them up and prevent them from making a tragic mistake? What if that parent was moved upon to exercise greater love toward their gay son, just when that son was considering suicide as his only way out of condemnation from his family and his church?

    I have a continual relationship with the Lord and I learn more and more as I continue to pray and get closer to Him. This is something that doesn’t fit under reasonable to you or Nick…

    Jen, I don’t think you really know what I would or would not find “reasonable.”

    I think at times, you try to set people up because you are convinced that they have no answer that will satisfy you, therefore you feel a small victory.

    Jen, people like me might just as easily think that you are convinced that nobody who doesn’t share your religious beliefs will ever have an “answer that will satisfy you.” Sometimes it’s just a matter of trying to help someone understand a different point of view, rather than “winning” anything.

    I am seeking to understand others with different perspectives and it makes it a lot more difficult to do so when the others aren’t interested in doing the same.

    I’m sure you’re well aware, Jen, that agreeing with your views is not necessary to understanding your views. Those who have known me well are aware that there was a time in my life when my comments would have made you sound like a lazy, uncommitted believer. I fully understand what it’s like to feel spiritual certainty.

  142. Jen
    September 28, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    brjones-

    My apologies. I was actually thinking of Nick when I was writing that last paragraph and I am not sure how I missed that. There is a lot going on here, so I apologize. I do feel like you are civil in our conversations and that you try to see other’s viewpoints and I appreciate your willingness to do so.

    In relation that that last paragraph, I have felt in the times that Nick has responded to me he is not very willing to have a civil conversation, or even attempt to forge some type of understanding. The feelings I wrote there were directed to him about that. Again, sorry for the mistake.

  143. Jen
    September 28, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Nick-

    “The fact is, Jesus’ protest was far more dramatic than Todd’s, even to the point of physical assault on worshippers.”

    Physical assault? Please give me the scriptural reference on this.

    “What if Todd’s words were edifying to some of those in the congregation, Jen?”

    And on the flip side Nick, what if his words pushed someone over the edge and they decided to leave the church? That may seem like a good thing to some, but to others it is devastating.

    “Jen, I don’t think you really know what I would or would not find “reasonable.” ”

    Enlighten me then.

    “I fully understand what it’s like to feel spiritual certainty”

    Well, you couldn’t have felt that certain if you aren’t so certain anymore right? 🙂

    My question to you is why do you go after people who express belief in God and the church and when others make comments that are offensive and rude but agree with your agenda, you say nothing at all? Do you agree with Todd’s approach of name-calling? If I did that I would hear it from you, but yet nothing is said to him. How can you scream intolerance with intolerance?

  144. brjones
    September 28, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    No worries, Jen. It’s that damned Jon Miranda. He’s got me all tied up in cyber-knots.

  145. Justin Perry
    September 28, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    In one of my areas on my mission we had a chapel where the pulpit had a red light on it. The Bishop had a button he could press that would turn the red light on and that was his way of saying “you’re done”. He claimed he only used it twice: once when my companion bore his testimony about how members should do more missionary work, and once when I rambled on for too long. He was like, “Elder Perry, this is very serious: I’ve only used that button twice in my 5 years as Bishop and I had to use it on you because you were just rambling on about nothing. Yeah, me and my 5 minute testimony were really feeling the love (it was 4.5 minutes, my companion timed it).
    When I saw the red light go on, my first reaction was to say, “sorry, I have to close in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
    But instead I said, “the red light just went on, which means the Bishop wants me to stop for some reason.” And then I just sat down.

    Wait – did I hear someone say they tried to film their talk in Church? Dude, Mormonism aside, that’s not even allowed in most religions.

  146. alice
    September 28, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    I refer again to my experience in the Quaker meeting. As I said, a deranged woman had a somewhat paranoid rant for about 5 minutes. When she sat down all the energy of it evaporated in an instant. There was no truth to it. It couldn’t sustain itself.

    Wherever people come down on Prop 8 and the church’s activities to fuel it, it will not go away. Todd’s testimony is far from the only fallout that it’s occasioned. Many people who are well armed with the church’s arguments and their own testimony are, nonetheless, not able to let it go. I think that’s because there is truth in it. And consequence in it. And heartbreak and loss in it. For those on both sides of the issue.

    Like it or not, this is not resolved with catchphrases and turning off mikes. So we might as well prepare ourselves to listen to one another and to be able to open our hearts for the time when the church sees the damage it is doing to itself.

  147. Ray
    September 28, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Todd, you have serious issues that I hope you can resolve in whatever way is possible. At this point, there is nothing I can say other than I truly hope God holds you and blessed you in the ways that will heal your soul – since #102 and #103 illustrate all kinds of issues that nobody here is qualified to address properly.

    My only offer might come across as condescending, but it is not. It is sincere, and it is based on decades of counseling people:

    Get help to recognize rationalization and its destructive nature. When blatantly contradictory statements are shared in such close proximity, it always points to problems that have reached clinical seriousness. All other things aside, please seek professional help if you have not done so already. You need desperately to take responsibility and ownership of your life, and if doing something like your actions in this case makes you face that necessity, I pray that God will bless you to have the courage and strength to find peace and happiness in this life.

    I have said in many places that I understand why homosexual members leave the Church, and I also have said I can’t condemn them in any way. I don’t have that inclination, authority or right – but I can pray you get the help you need.

    I also can pray that the viciousness that I have been reading lately here on MM subsides and it becomes again a place where I want to contribute. Honestly, right now it simply isn’t.

  148. September 28, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Ray, thank you … I Appreciate your opinion, Things should resolve themselves when more of us are heard and not silenced

    The viciousness you have seen is a drop in the bucket compared to what I’ve received from supposedly “good Mormons”

    Your Mental opinion of me is very interesting at best, Thank You for your Prayers But please save them for your church’s wrong doings…

    In the end We will all know the truth of all things and I Will Forgive those that have trespassed against me as I Love my brothers and sisters even though Their capacity towards me seems to be something called “Tolerance” at Best’

    God Bless You

  149. September 28, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    #143:
    Physical assault? Please give me the scriptural reference on this.

    The New Testament account clearly states that he braided a whip and “drove” men out of the temple with it. “Assault” consists of harmful or offensive contact, from the point of view of the person receiving that contact. To argue that Jesus’ actions did not consist of a physical assault is to “wrest the scriptures,” as they say.

    Well, you couldn’t have felt that certain if you aren’t so certain anymore right?

    That’s a comforting speculation, Jen, perhaps reassuring yourself that you could never doubt your faith. The reasoning, however, is akin to saying that since insane people deny their insanity, anyone who claims to be sane is actually insane. I can’t begin to count how many times I told myself and others that I could “never deny” the validity of Mormonism, Jen. The simple fact is that we all change in the course of our life experiences, etc., thus our views often turn out not be as immovable as we think they are.

    My question to you is why do you go after people who express belief in God and the church and when others make comments that are offensive and rude but agree with your agenda, you say nothing at all?

    Perhaps because “offensive and rude” is in the eye of the beholder, Jen. I’ve noticed, for example, that virtually any time I express disagreement with current LDS teachings or practices, you respond by telling me I’m being “offensive” or some similar accusation.

  150. sxark
    September 28, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    Nick re #149:

    How could you make this mistake about Jesus in the Temple [#141] by asserting that He was assaulting worshipers, when the scriptures clearly state that He was assaulting the moneychangers?

    All Jen was pointing out, was that it was so obvious that Todd was violating a sacred testimony meeting. Jesus was doing nothing of the kind, not even close.

    I believe your right about one thing: “offensive and rude” does appear to be in the eye of the beholder. If one supports Elder Hafen, they are labeled as “offensive and rude” and sometimes a “toll”. And vice-versa.

  151. MoHoHawaii
    September 29, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Re #146– What a wise comment.

  152. September 29, 2009 at 6:33 am

    #150:
    The “moneychangers” were within the temple courts, sxark, and were an established part of the system of worship in the Jerusalem temple at that time. The fact that they were making money from their role in public worship (providing sacrificial animals, exchanging common coins for “temple” currency, etc.) doesn’t mean they weren’t worshippers.

  153. Justin Perry
    September 29, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Okey, I usually don’t take sxark’s side if I can help it, but Jesus assaulted the people in the temple because they turned the temple into a den of thieves (Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17 and Luke 19:46).

    Personally, I think Todd is faced with that age-old dillema: he wants to stand up for what’s right, but at the same time he needs to respect the cultures he disagrees with. There is scarcely a church in the world that would allow you to take the pulpit, preach against their fundamental beliefs, and let you video tape the whole thing.

    Legally, the freedom of speech doesn’t apply when you’re on private property, like a church.

    So I wouldn’t have personally made the same decision, but I’m also not Todd.

  154. Jen
    September 29, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Nick-

    “Perhaps because “offensive and rude” is in the eye of the beholder, Jen. I’ve noticed, for example, that virtually any time I express disagreement with current LDS teachings or practices, you respond by telling me I’m being “offensive” or some similar accusation.”

    I’m not the only one telling you Nick. I notice others, like Ray did recently, saying something to you as well.

  155. Jen
    September 29, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Nick-

    “That’s a comforting speculation, Jen, perhaps reassuring yourself that you could never doubt your faith. The reasoning, however, is akin to saying that since insane people deny their insanity, anyone who claims to be sane is actually insane. I can’t begin to count how many times I told myself and others that I could “never deny” the validity of Mormonism, Jen. The simple fact is that we all change in the course of our life experiences, etc., thus our views often turn out not be as immovable as we think they are.”

    Nick, I was actually trying to be funny on this comment. That’s why the smiley face was there. And actually I have been a stage of significant doubt, so no, I am not trying to reassure myself at all….been there done that. I am sure that your stage of doubt was much different than mine because you are an openly gay man, but neverthless we all go through stages of doubt at one time or another.

  156. Jen
    September 29, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Should be: And actually I have been THROUGH a stage, not have been a stage

    Where did that edit button go?!?

  157. September 29, 2009 at 9:57 am

    #153:
    Okey, I usually don’t take sxark’s side if I can help it, but Jesus assaulted the people in the temple because they turned the temple into a den of thieves (Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17 and Luke 19:46).

    Yes, Jesus of Nazareth protested the exploitive business of the moneychangers, which took place within the Jerusalem temple courts, saying that their practices made the temple into a “den of thieves” (quoting from the Old Testament, of course). These individuals received common (generally foriegn, i.e. Greek or Roman) coins in exchange for the “temple” coins, which were acceptable for making offerings in the temple, and made a substantial (as I said, “exploitive”) profit by so doing. Others exploited the poor by selling sacrificial animals within the temple courts, again at substantial profits. The temple priests, it is said, made no effort to curb this practice, because they were receiving a percentage of the take.

    These moneychangers and merchants weren’t unauthorized “invaders” of the temple courts. Rather, they were authorized and supported by the temple priests as a normal function. Perhaps when they began, they weren’t much different than having a Beehive Clothing outlet adjacent to a modern LDS temple–members of the faith, simply providing a convenient and necessary service. Over time, however, their pursuit of profit resulted in gross mistreatment of the poor. I think we can all agree that their conduct was repulsive, but this doesn’t take away the fact that they were an accepted (by the priests) part of the worship setting at that time—they were among those we would call “worshippers,” even if they were bad worshippers.

  158. Douglas Hunter
    September 29, 2009 at 10:20 am

    ” I don’t think it is wrong for Todd to express his views, just not in Sacrament meeting where others are expecting to worship and be edified. He obviously had motives that were beyond doing that.”

    Why not in sacrament meeting? In my ward sacrament meeting was a place where people were allowed to voice opinions that were overtly political, prejudiced and basically offensive, as long as those opinions were pro prop. 8. Even some of my pro prop. 8 friends felt that the use of church meetings for prop. 8 activities went way over the line, and was obviously political in nature. Granted I don’t think the statement in the video was very well done, it was more political and economic in nature than it was spiritual, but that is not a major criticism in an environment in which one particular political view was repeatedly pronounced from the pulpit.

    Two thoughts, first, its not necessarily a bad thing for us to hear something challenging and uncomfortable from the pulpit, being a Christian does seem to require some challenges and being made uncomfortable. Heck, at least it wasn’t yet another cookie cutter “I know this Church is true . . .” sort of thing. Second, if the chapel is sacred space then everyone needs to treat it as such, the exclusion of politics needs to be universal rather than selective.

  159. Jen
    September 29, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Douglas-

    We didn’t have any pro Prop 8 opinions being expressed in my ward and I don’t think Sacrament is the place to do that either. Obviously, every bishop is different in what they allow or don’t allow and I am sure some crossed the line on that one.

    As far as hearing things over the pulpit that make us feel uncomfortable, I have no problem with feeling discomfort and working through it, but Sacrament meeting also includes infants on up and I don’t feel it is necessary to make children uncomfortable or confused, they have enough to deal with and worry about in their lives. That doesn’t mean that I ignore talking about issues with my children, but there are certain ages where they just don’t need to be concerned or worried about things they are too young to process and understand.

  160. sxark
    September 29, 2009 at 10:38 am

    There must be closure on this issue somewhere. Is it now acknowledged by all that the Bishop or his designate, should he be absent, is the only person authorized to “judge” during all Church meetings and therefore has the authority to stop anyone from speaking?

    I don’t know if my questions are ‘threadjacking’ but the topic of this post has raised some interesting side issues during the last 156 entries. For example: If one leaves the LDS Church voluntarily or by excommunication, is that person described in D&C 43:18 “….Ye saints arise and live; ye sinners stay and sleep until I shall call again.”

    If one voluntarily leaves the LDS Church, do they miss out on the Millenium, as that scripture suggests? And is this and other scriptures brought to their attention before they leave the Church? This is not a “brainwashing” technique as suggested by Todd in #103. It’s just a question as to whether former members of the LDS Church will participate in the Millenium or not.

  161. September 29, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    160:
    There must be closure on this issue somewhere. Is it now acknowledged by all that the Bishop or his designate, should he be absent, is the only person authorized to “judge” during all Church meetings and therefore has the authority to stop anyone from speaking?

    That is not an accurate conclusion, sxark. If the stake president, or one of his counsellors, is present, they preside over the meeting, and the bishop (or one of his counsellors) simply conducts the meeting by permission/custom. The stake presidency member would also have an ecclesiastical right to “judge” and stop a speaker from proceeding.

    If one voluntarily leaves the LDS Church, do they miss out on the Millenium, as that scripture suggests?

    According to the teachings of the LDS church, sxark, a great many non-LDS will be alive on the earth during what LDS anticipate as “the Millenium.” At the same time, a great many LDS members would not survive to “participate in the Millenium,” since every church has members who represent the proverbial “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

    And is this and other scriptures brought to their attention before they leave the Church?

    When I directed the LDS church to remove my name from their records, a few well-meaning friends attempted this sort of “intervention,” telling me that all sorts of terrible fates awaited me in the event that I persisted in my so-called “apostacy.” One even attempted to convince me that if I left the LDS church and lived as an openly gay man, I would surely die from AIDS within two years (already a false prophecy, btw)! While the intentions of these individuals were basically good, they demonstrated a rather remarkable set of assumptions on their part. They assumed that I still “secretly” believed everything the LDS church taught, as if they simply couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea that someone could reach the conclusion that LDS-ism wasn’t all it claimed to be. Since they made this assumption, they also assumed that they could talk me out of leaving the LDS church by telling me all the “blessings” that I would be “giving up” (something that only has meaning for someone who believes in those “blessings” in the first place). Most surprisingly of all, a few of these men seemed absolutely convinced that if they were persistent, they could find the one thing to say, which would miraculously change my mind (not to mention my sexual orientation!).

    I’m not sure where these assumptions come from, frankly, but they don’t seem to be all that rare. I see them in practice among certain commenters in the bloggernacle, as well. I think most of the individuals who hold these assumptions are truly perplexed by the thoughts and behavior of “unbelievers,” and they truly desire to do good. A few, sadly, become very frustrated and angry when other commenters don’t see the “obvious truth” of their words. One can only speculate as to the root cause of such anger.

  162. sxark
    September 29, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Nick re #161:

    Being non-LDS is different than one who was a member of the Church, then left it. I would double check this out. I’m almost certain I read about this somewhere, but this was a topic I wasn’t looking for in the first place. But, then again, if you don’t care, then that’s the way it is.

    However, should you find out, that according to LDS theology, that D&C 43:18 also pertains to those who leave the LDS Church and you did not know this at the time you left, – would this information impact on your decision making process?

  163. September 29, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    #162:
    However, should you find out, that according to LDS theology, that D&C 43:18 also pertains to those who leave the LDS Church and you did not know this at the time you left, – would this information impact on your decision making process?

    You just can’t see it, can you sxark? Did you bother at all to read what I posted? You’re making the same assumptions I described above. If I’m a non-believer, how would the intended meaning of any passage in LDS scripture be “information” that would “impact on [my] decision making process?” Why on earth would you think that some particular scripture quotation is going to magically change “re-convert” someone who has made a decision to leave the LDS church–a decision which almost always involves lengthy study and soul-searching?

    My last stake president was far more respectful, and infinitely wiser than you are in this regard. I had served two and a half years as his executive secretary, meeting with him on a weekly basis (often more than weekly). When I discussed with him the fact that I was going to have my name removed from the records of the LDS church, he didn’t try to preach to me, or come up with some “magical phrase” to change my mind. He didn’t try to teach me doctrines that I’d taught to others for over twenty years, on some oddball presumption that I just didn’t understand LDS teachings. Instead, he said, “Nick, I know you well enough to know that you would never have made this decision without a great deal of careful thought.” He treated me with dignity as a sincere, thinking human being, and despite the fact that we had come to differ in our views of LDS teachings, he expressed his ongoing love and support.

  164. sxark
    September 29, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    ok

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