A modest note about the group ‘Mama Dragons’

This is a guest post by Michael Worley.

 

This post is written cautiously, as both family members of those who experience same-gender attraction and those who experience same-sex attraction should receive Christlike love from church members, irrespective of any choice they make. A recent church video emphasizes this point.

But loving one another does not require we treat their points of view as admirable. Of special concern for LDS members is when groups either (1) promote views contrary to the teachings of Christ as taught by his prophets, apostles, and other leaders or (2) advance their views by supporting efforts that contradict church teachings, while refusing to support efforts that affirm church teachings.

Suppose you were addicted to pornography, tempted to the speed limit on the freeway, or having trouble reading the Book of Mormon every day—but realized that all three of these things had been spoken of as important in general conference, to one degree or another. If you wished to improve in these areas, you would not turn to those who claimed that pornography was morally acceptable, who posted routinely on social media how to speed without getting caught, or who disputed the prophets who testify of the Book of Mormon.

One somewhat prominent group, “Mama Dragons,” holds itself out as a support group for LDS family members of those who experience same-sex attraction. The remainder of this post addresses the question of whether they are a trustworthy source for members of the church to turn to, based on the principles mentioned above. This is so those looking for good sources on the LDS church’s stance on same-sex attraction and gender identity can know what this group believes. While those who leave the LDS Faith or choose to question the teachings of the church have every right to express their views, Millennial Star has every right to collect their views for reference.

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LDS Perspectives Podcast: Balancing Religious Tensions with Mauro Properzi

 

Finding a balance between loyalty or commitment to one’s faith and sympathetic openness to other faiths is one of the biggest challenges Mormons face in an age of inclusiveness.

The classic “theology of religions” view of other faiths known as “inclusivism” broadly fits what Dr. Mauro Properzi thinks this balance should look like in an LDS context.

The idea is that one’s faith is unique, most effective, and overall preferential (or one could use the term “truest”) in leading to our eternal destination. Other religions, however, while being positive paths that move as a whole in the same direction, lack some elements that characterize the faith you embrace. Perhaps other paths take unnecessary detours, perhaps they have holes that cause slower progress, perhaps they are not as scenic. Still, these roads are going in the same general direction as your road, not in the opposite one. In short, if your road leads to God, the other roads don’t lead to Satan; they are also oriented toward God.

Inclusivism is the middle ground. Two other positions represent the ends of the spectrum of religious tolerance.  On one side is exclusivism, which in its bluntest form is the message that only my religion is good, true, divinely inspired, and salvific. At its opposite is pluralism with the message that all religions are true, divinely inspired, and salvific since it is believed that they teach the same message in different cultural contexts.

What is clear is that in our postmodern Western culture many people, whether religious or not, lean in the direction of pluralism and exclusivism is not very popular. Exclusivism, however, is an important component of Christianity, and of Mormonism in particular; in fact, in the pursuit of truth in general. It is not the whole of the answer but it is a significant part of it.

The challenge for us, and for any other person of faith who feels these tensions, is to be reflective about them and not succumb to pressures that aim to eliminate them. For us these pressures can come from social interactions both within the church and outside of it … pressures that want to obliterate one side or the other of the spectrum.

Join Laura Harris Hales of LDS Perspectives Podcast as she interviews Mauro Properzi about false obstacles and rich opportunities that come from learning about other religions.

Proclaiming the Power of Christ

I have had a glorious Easter season.

I was blessed by the opportunity to participate in several choirs. This year, as we sang of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, I was particularly moved. The songs were pure doctrine, sweet testimony, and sheer beauty.

Christ is risen, our Savior and King. He will redeem all from death and will redeem all from hell who cast themselves upon His mercy.

I pray that your Easter season has included the beauty of the sacred, as you reflected on the despair we feel when we lose loved ones, the sublime peace of those who hope in Christ, the tragedy of the doubting Thomas, and the loving mercy of our God.

As we leave the sacred space of Easter and return to the profane world, may the peace of God remain in our hearts.

Tithing and the Law of Consecration

Steven Harper points out that one of things the Revelations in Context series was designed to do was to encourage study of the history and doctrine of the LDS Church in order to get past the folk doctrines we’ve invented.

One of the misunderstandings that has developed over time is the relationship between the law of consecration and tithing.

The law of the Lord is given in D&C 42, and it is to love God and love your neighbor. We are encouraged to give of our time and temporal means to relieve the suffering of others.

It is not a law governing ownership but one that asks us what we are willing to do with what we have.

Tithing didn’t replace the law of consecration but rather is one way in which we practice it. The law is eternal and does not change but the way we practice it does.

In the early days of the LDS Church, any freewill offering was considered tithing. This has changed over time.

The law is about agency, accountability, and stewardship.

Listen in on this fascinating discussion between Steven C. Harper and Nick Galieti of LDS Perspectives Podcast as they delve into the meat of the law of consecration.

Review: A House Full of Females by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich


It is daunting presuming to review the work of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. She is a Pulitzer Prize winning historian, a Harvard professor, and, perhaps most enduringly, the one who wrote:

“Well-behaved women seldom make history…”

In A House Full of Females, Professor Ulrich for the first time puts forward a scholarly book that addresses Mormon history.

I first heard of this years ago, when a friend with a sister in Professor Ulrich’s Boston congregation told me Professor Ulrich was writing “the definitive” book about Joseph Smith. As I had by that time completed my Faithful Joseph series of blog posts, I reached out to Professor Ulrich.

I wrote: “My friend’s sister, your friend, mentioned you have just submitted the manuscript for a book on Joseph Smith and polygamy, the definitive book, she asserted. I don’t know much more than an assertion that there was a lot less sex than most people assume and that none of the children are Joseph’s.”

Professor Ulrich graciously replied, but informed me someone must have misunderstood:

“I do think it significant that there were so few births to plural wives before Joseph’s death, but my book does not offer any new information on Joseph, Eliza, or John C. Bennett.” Continue reading