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  1. According to Joseph Smith and many other ‘true’ prophets, when a person or so-called ‘prophet’ teaches anything contrary to Christ’s laws or the scriptures, then we will know they are wrong and maybe an imposter and false prophet. This Priesthood Ban was hardly the only things those church leaders got wrong, they proved their were imposters and false prophets over and over in their numerous other kinds of support for evil. Joseph Smith was the last ‘true’ prophet we had, as the Book of Mormon foretells, the ‘Holy Church of God’ went into apostasy, because everyone so easily fell for false doctrine, false teachers and false prophets, the Priesthood Ban is just one of the many examples of apostasy.

  2. Pingback: Prophets, race and feminism | Dialogue – A Journal of Mormon Thought

  3. As is often the case for women in this church, my first hints at tension with what was being taught and what my own thoughts and feelings were had to do with gender/priesthood issues as I was growing up within the church. My first real encounter with disagreeing point blank with a prophet was when I was a young adult working at the Church History library and reading Brigham Young, Heber C Kimball, etc conference reports where they described life here and hereafter in terms of the father/patriarch as the center of the universe and all the wives and children he earns orbiting around him or ornamenting his existence. I’m sitting there at the reference desk going, “Dude, that just feels wrong! I’m not an orbiter or an ornament!!! Brigham, you’re a talented guy in organizing and getting people to do stuff. Well done on rescuing the snow-trapped saints on a Sunday in Wyoming, but your vision of Heaven as laid-out here sucks.” (I of course didn’t say that out loud.:)
    I’m so grateful for the insights and experiences so beautifully shared here and I agree with all that was said. I love the comment about how the journey part, the asking the questions part, is filled with growth and encouragement from the Spirit. That was and is my experience as well. I tell my kids and the Beehives I teach to ask questions! Do it! That knowledge is for you to find out. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you. You find it out! The struggle is at least as empowering as the answer.
    Thanks Dan for another wonderful podcast. Happy to donate this month and merry Christmas and happy New Year,

  4. Dan, I admire you for your insights and have enjoyed many of your podcasts. I’ve been on my own faith journey for a while now, and coming to the realization that prophets are human beings who are only occasionally touched by the divine, instead of divine people who are in constant communication with God, allowed me to forgive and see the Church and its leaders with more charity. My question is, how do you deal with other members, or leaders, who don’t see them that way?

    I think most of my frustration with the Church, its members, leaders, and culture, is that they still deify our leaders and teach, act and react as if they are infallible. I’m actually fine with them being infallible. It makes me feel good to know that not everything they say may be right. But how do you deal with a member or a leader who believes what a leader says is the unflinching word of God? Especially if it has an effect on you and your life? Especialy if it is racist, sexist, preaches exclusivity or intolerance?

    The Priesthood Ban and its fallout, including the recent essay, has raised a lot of questions, obviously. Most of those you have hit on. What about a scenario in which someone comes out in open opposition against Church leaders on an issue and is disciplined for it, only to have the Church later turn around, change its position, disavow its previous doctrines, and essentially agree with the member’s original critisism? Do we just go with the flow until the Church leaders come around, even though everything tells us it is wrong?

    I don’t expect the Prophet and Apostles to be anything more than human, but I usually feel like I’m hitting my head against the wall trying to deal with the vast majority of members who take their words as gospel (literally). I do truly admire your humility and patience. I have been trying to make it work for a long time, but I feel as though the entire Church machine is against those of us who are clamoring for a higher level of spirituality.

    1. You’ve nailed the key Sunday (and often with folks in our wider circles) tensions for many of us here, and I’m not sure there’s an answer that magically makes everything better. My general approach is to simply let comments like that pass by. When I find one especially egregious and feel like I must weigh in (almost exclusively on subjects that directly hurt people), I try to keep things in the realm of “my own experience with this issue is…” and then simply share part of my journey on that topic, or in this specific case about prophetic fallibility, perhaps how I moved from a more literalist view to one that has expanded my world. (Always best to share how our current positions are positive ones rather than mere rejections of the one they have expressed.)

      I think this new statement on race is a wonderful gift, not only because of the specifics of “we disavow….(all the key racialized teachings) but because we now have a specific, official acknowledgment that culture and assumptions from previous generations influence even LDS prophets and apostles. Combine that with examples of scripture (such as Genesis or ones that seem to support God’s being something other than loving) that assumes a cosmology/worldview that no one really holds anymore and hence it is important to hold the specifics lightly, concentrating instead on underlying themes and what the scripture seems to be pointing toward. If we do this, I think we now have a great platform from which to open those discussions with people.

      People first. Preserve relationships. Allow others their own journey while still being open and honest about ours. It doesn’t always make Sundays and discussions across worldview differences “fun,” but it has certainly helped me. And then there are the many times when something they say or how they act in such beautiful ways that they teach me, as well. These times make the tough ones worth struggling through.

      1. Oh, and once you’ve spoken up enough and done it in a way that they still trust that you love them, are part of the group, and want only the best, it can become fun. In my old ward in Tooele (and beginning even now to happen in my Bountiful ward in which we’ve lived just thirteen months now), I got to the point where I can just raise my hand and get a smile even from the conservatives as I say, “Well, you can probably guess that I have a slightly different take on that!” Sometimes, even without my raising my hand, teachers would say, “Now, Brother Wotherspoon, you probably have something on this from your background studies or experiences that would be fun to hear.” As I shared above, relationships matter. When you’ve handled your differences with others openly and fairly and always with love, good things can happen. Especially over a long period of time. William James famously wrote about the process of adopting new views, and how difficult and slow the process can be for us (or for helping another open to a new view):

        “The individual has a stock of old opinions already,
        but he meets a new experience that puts them to a strain. Somebody contradicts them; or in a reflective moment he discovers that they contradict each other; or he hears of facts with which they are incompatible; or desires arise in him which they cease to satisfy. The result is an inward trouble to which his mind till then had been a stranger, and from which he seeks to escape by modifying his previous mass of opinions…until at last some new idea comes up which he can graft upon the ancient stock with a
        minimum of disturbance of the latter….

        The new idea is then adopted as the true one. It
        preserves the older stock of truths with a minimum of modification, stretching them enough to make them admit the novelty, but conceiving them in ways as
        familiar as the case leaves possible. [A radical] explanation, violating all our preconceptions, would never pass as a true account of a novelty. We should scratch around industriously till we found something less eccentric. The most violent revolutions in an individual’s beliefs leave most of his old order standing.”

        1. Thanks for this Dan. Lot’s of good advice here and tools for the toolbox. LOVE the quote from William James! I will certainly try to keep this in mind as I interact with others regarding these issues. Like I said, I enjoy your podcasts and while I know you’re just a guy on a journey like the rest of us, I truly hope someday to be where you seem to be now.
          -Brian

  5. Hi Dan
    And thank you for a wonderful podcast, it is one I will be hearing again and I will be sending it to someone else, who is also struggling with the “Where to put it all” question

    I was just wondering about you saying, that you can’t testify. Could you elaborate on that? I Myself do get up at our testimony meeting and testify about God the father, Jesus Christ, the atonement. I do not testify of our living prophets, the book of mormon and other things as I am struggling with these right now. I think it would actually be nice to hear what you and the others can testify of. To me it is interesting to see that our journeys are all different and that we each how different problems with the church

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