In the three months since the Church announced its new policy regarding LGBT persons and their children, we seem to increasingly encounter talk among LDS leaders and members that seems integrally tied to aspects of Christian and Mormon thinking about the Apocalyse: the end times prophesied to be proceeded by great calamities as well as the choosing of sides, a separation of the sheep from the goats, a time when even the very elect can be deceived, a time of judgment against the wicked and triumph for the for the good. Does the continued (or increased) presence of rhetoric associated with the “end times” help explain how the new policy might have found such a clear path into LDS policy, as well as how easily it has been accepted by many within the fold who don’t understand the need for it themselves but choose not to speak up about it as much as they might otherwise? How is the notion of a looming Apocalypse affecting the way certain messaging around LGBT (and other) controversial issues are framed? Is it aiding in the creation of a stronger notion of in- and out-groups, LDS “identity,” and other forms of boundary maintenance? Is this a new phenomenon, or simply a continuation of ways other controversial and seemingly challenging issues have been talked about in the past? If we so desire, how might we counter the effects of such thinking in today’s Mormonism?
Please listen to this discussion between two fantastic thinkers and church watchers, Mark Crego and Jason Nelson Seawright, and Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon and then share your thoughts in the comments section below!
B. Stanley Benfell III, “Watching,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26, no. 3 (Fall 1993), 143–150.
Dan Wotherspoon, “Through These People,” Sunstone 142 (September 2006), 11–13.
I’m a little over half-done, but this has been a hard segment to listen to, because it seems that there is not much balance in the discussion against the LDS Church and its stand on homosexuality. But I do plan to keep listening.
It would help if there were hyperlinks to such things as Dallin Oaks speech/paper from 1984 drawing a line in the sand, and David Bednar’s supposed claim that we’re all going to be meeting in the forest for Church instead of in Church buildings.
I found myself saying several times during the discussion that “that’s not accurate!” and wishing that I could immediately jump in and challenge some of the perspectives that were given.
I think what Elder Nelson said at the devotional in Hawaii has been enormously misinterpreted.
There were a lot of apocalyptic tales of Mormon yore that didn’t seem to be applicable to the topic for discussion.
In short, it seems that this panel discussion became quite apocalyptic about the LDS supposed positions on the apocalyptic things. 😉
Thanks for the comments. If you have anything that you feel isn’t accurate, please advise. We are always interested in correcting anything where we misspoke.
Frank, please explain how President Nelson’s comments have been “misinterpreted.” The way I read it, he explicitly says that this was a revelation to the prophet, after fasting/prayer/temple/discussing as apostles, and “all present” felt a “spiritual confirmation” that this was God’s will. If that is not the current day revelatory process, what is?
So this is God’s will, or it’s something else. Pres Nelson asserts this is indeed God’s will.
I think Dan and others (Patrick Mason, etc.) have discussed this in terms of it being a “policy,” as if it were not as significant or less celestial and a sort of tier below revelation, allowing for dissent from policy while avoiding denying revelation from God’s oracle. This podcast continues to refer to the recent revelation as a “policy”, but while it is found in our handbook of Church policies it has been defined further as revelation. This is problematic and I would like further discussion on this.
In listening to the last half hour of the segment, I do say that I found it much more enjoyable, because it seemed to turn more to an effort to explain and understand and respect the various viewpoints on the subject.
Good discussion. Curious how our current cultural, financial, and leadership core is solidly white, educated, and relatively affluent, yet they still like to talk like the sky is falling. Seems to be an easy way to keep us stirred up without ever examining our own complicity in the stuff we decry. Materialism doesn’t undermine the family, gay couples do!
My experience has been that we’ve lost much of our millennial zeal. Our ancestors worked with an urgency to physically build Zion- and usher in a reign of peace and an end to death. In an era prior to anesthetic, death was usually a painful and drawn-out process. Illness, disease, hunger, and death struck every home in ways we neither remember nor do we experience. Yet since that time things have gotten considerably better. Check out Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries 200 Years report (4 min) on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo . With these changes, I think our millennial urgency has simmered down.
I lament the fact that my comfortable middle-class life fogs my view of those suffering here in the US and abroad. (Check out how many Americans are responding to the Syrian refugee crisis!) Even my mission experiences in a poor country with a degree of poverty are now covered in cobwebs- too painful to take out frequently. Those memories are easily replaced by my present-day life where I have more food than I should consume and an eco-unfriendly house. Our leaders don’t even have to worry about my silly middle-class woes like earning a paycheck, mortgages, debt, job loss, health insurance, etc. Their elite existence is as the lilies of the field. Why worry or hurry to usher in the millennium in such comfortable circumstances? Kick back in your second home up in Heber Valley or Park City, and let later generations fight the battles with the forces of evil. No, there isn’t much millennial zeal anymore. Speaking of Brigham Young’s mind on the matter (Dan), his favorite hymn was a fast-paced dance reel ‘When First the Glorious Light of Truth” which after verses about the death of loved ones and persecution of the saints, rings in a boisterous and knee-slapping chorus of ’till the resurrection day! Till the resurrection day!’ There may be a good dose of fear-mongering and apocalyptic psychology today to scare us into obedience, but I don’t see the haste to clothe the naked, eradicate poverty, and bring peace to all nations through our Don Quixote-like idealism.(Haven’t we assumed it is impossible?)
I don’t care whether my food storage is stocked or whether I have a gun to fend off zombie invaders, but I wish I could shift into a higher gear when it comes to humanitarian work. I often wish I lived in an era when membership in the RS was a vehicle for engaging in impossibly ambitious charity instead of my Super-craft-tastic-Saturdays.
Perhaps the conundrum we find ourselves in now with apocalyptic thinking and resultant harm to our LGBT brother and sisters wouldn’t exist if we simultaneously grasped the other side of the apocalyptic coin- millennial zeal for radical charity and a total obliteration of poverty and contention.
Did Romney’s recent railing against Trump stir this apocalyptic pot?
Are speculations brewing about Romney leading a contingent of Mormon elders in saving the Constitution from either Donald or Hillary?
Enjoyed the conversation – thanks to all.
The upside of the churches position as we see the world spiral out of controll. Since the passing of anything goes marraige, and we see the march towards having transgender men getting access to women’s bathrooms. So the point I stress is that young minds are very impressionable. It is now being proven the young will engage in risky behavior into their early twenties because if the way the brain matures. So society ever eager to inform the young that any errent thought should be exercised without thought or council, can lead to bad choice behavior. Yes I know all these pods have come with educated people who in my opinion have given little to their opinion that LGBT is a cut and dried affair. Their proof was much in the way of assumptions and illusions. Their is after all a mirriod of psychological states of being that come as an evolution from birth to adult hood. The churches position give a good basis for correct development in this mental exercise of maturity. So in this perspective their is authority in which way a young person should think and feel. Yes I know this argument is not a do all fit all but it can and will make differences in many young lives.