About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

Guest post: The UP movement

By Jeffrey Collyer

Jeffrey Collyer says about himself: “Not much to say really. I’m a middle-aged member of the Church, married to a fabulous woman with whom I do my best to raise 4 children, living in the UK. I’ve been writing my own blog about the Atonement for the last 6 months or so – www.allthingswitness.wordpress.com”

If you pay any attention to the LDS blogosphere (and let’s face it if you’re reading this you probably do), then you will have noticed that again as we approach General Conference there has been an upsurge in the number of OW-related posts.

While I wouldn’t say I have actively followed the various arguments on either side, I follow a wide range of LDS blogs, and have therefore read countless posts on the subject. Unfortunately I am now at the point of inwardly groaning every time there is another post about OW, and after some pondering on this, I have identified why that is, as well as a proposal for an alternative “Movement” (so if you don’t want to read about OW skip to the end).

So firstly, why I don’t want to read anything about OW anymore (and yes I appreciate the irony that I am writing about something that I don’t want to read about):

Firstly, I find it boring. I don’t mean that in an insulting way; it’s just that I can’t find anyone saying anything new on the subject. One of the reasons I follow the blogs that I do is that I like to read thoughts and ideas from others that are fresh to me, giving me new insights and different perspectives. But all of the arguments that proponents of OW make basically boil down to variations on, “It’s not fair”, which makes neither the argument nor the counter-argument terribly enlightening. I still tend to read OW-related posts because, I think, “Maybe this one will be different. Maybe this one will actually have something new to say.” But invariably I’m disappointed and end up wishing I’d spent the 2-3 minutes doing something else. So, could anyone wishing to post on the subject of OW please SAY SOMETHING NEW!

Secondly, I really can’t see what they’re trying to achieve. Anyone who knows anything about how the Church works will know that confrontational campaigning just isn’t going to do anything to further the cause, so I have to assume that the leaders of OW either have a different agenda to the one they are publicly espousing, or they’re not terribly well informed on how the Church functions. Either way, it doesn’t suggest to me that this is a “Movement” either from or on behalf of faithful members.
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Guest post: but will they come without purse?

This is a guest post by Michael Davidson, who describes himself as a “father, husband, lawyer and family history consultant living in southern Nevada. Being a family history consultant ties with nursery leader for third on my list of all time favorite callings.”

By Michael Davidson

As I write this, we are just a few days away from the Ordain Women action, in which they intend to get themselves turned away from the Priesthood Session of General Conference. Will they be met on the sidewalk and asked not to continue? Will they be barred from entering Temple Square? It hasn’t even happened yet and I’m already annoyed because I know that this will be a distraction against my favorite conference tradition. I’ve always come home after Priesthood Session and read my notes to my wife and discussed how we will apply that counsel to our family. Last year I found myself distracted by the OW circus, even though I wasn’t even on Temple Square.

This year, I will probably get distracted again … and I hate that, but a lot of the blame there goes on me. At least the OW crowd has indicated that they won’t be doing this again next conference, but that doesn’t mean we’ve heard the last of them. In her podcast over at FMH from March 24, 2014, Kate Kelly pulled back the curtain a bit about OW’s next big plan and they are not content with merely making a spectacle of themselves on Temple Square. Here’s what Kate had to say:

[The transcription is mine, and I take responsibility for any errors. This portion begins at about 50:12 in the MP3 I download from FMH] “One of the things we are doing directly after the action is a set of 6 discussions specifically about women’s ordination, and so we’re going to be creating discussion packets. All you’ll have to do is literally, like, print out the PDF, all of the articles and everything is going to be less than ten pages for each discussion, so there will be excerpts from articles, there will be scriptures, there will be other things that you can study. You can take this packet that you have in your hands and invite a couple of your friends over and have a discussion about it. It doesn’t have to be people who already agree with us. It can be anyone who has ideas about ordination or about the priesthood who wants to learn more. So we’re hoping that women will engage in those [There is a noticeable break here, at about 50:50 in the MP3, and it is clear that some content got missed either deliberately or accidentally.] you know leaders in the Ordain Women movement will go through the discussions as well so if you are, in Tajikistan, and don’t have anyone who is a Mormon feminist in your area you can get together with, you can join with us online.”

First, this was the most interesting part in the 2 hour podcast, and I’m disappointed that just as things were getting interesting, someone exercised a little editorial control and removed part of that discussion. I would like to ask the proprietors of FMH in the interest of transparency, what exactly got removed here, and was the removal at Kate Kelly’s request? Was there anything else removed from the podcast after the fact? I’m not holding my breath for a response.

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Church again slams OW movement

Church spokesman Michael Otterson reminded Church members Friday that the Ordain Women movement is nothing more than a publicity stunt that distracts from the positive spirit of General Conference.

“Avoiding distraction from a sacred church gathering is also the operating principle in relation to Temple Square,” Otterson wrote. “Last year, the staged protest was extremely disruptive to that atmosphere. While we made an exception to policy and accommodated media cameras last October, protesters exploited that decision to hold a media event.”

Further, Otterson wrote, “posturing for news cameras in the shadow of the Salt Lake Temple is not what General Conference is about, and leaders and members were rightly offended by it.”

Otterson is referring to the protest at October General Conference against the Church by OW movement members intent on asking for the priesthood. Ninety percent of Mormon women — and 95 percent of active members — say women should not be eligible for the priesthood. The OW movement vows to repeat this protest for April Conference, despite being asked repeatedly to stand down by the Church.

Careful readers will note some deliberate language used by Otterson in a very polite but pointed letter. Notice the use of the words “staged protest” and “disruptive” and “exploited” and “posturing” and “rightly offended.”

The Church is making it clear to all members that the OW has nothing to do with a faithful petition by active members. Instead, the OW movement is being exposed for what it truly is: a publicity stunt led mostly by opponents of the Church.

It is morally wrong to call for ‘civil disobedience’ against the Church

There have been some truly absurd things floating around the Mormon blogs these days. The single most absurd has to be this post, in which the writer calls for “civil disobedience” against the Church on the issue of women and the priesthood.

Make no mistake: the writer is a supporter and promoter of the Ordain Women (OW) movement, which seeks to force the Church to take a stand on the priesthood that 90 percent of Mormon women do not support.

But the post is especially silly because the writer apparently does not know the difference between civil disobedience against the government (very often a laudable thing) and civil disobedience against a private, voluntary organization.

The writer is correct to point out that disobedience against unjust laws is often necessary in a republic like ours. The civil rights movement provides a classic case of just disobedience: Rosa Parks truly is a hero for refusing to give up her seat to a white person. But Rosa Parks was disobeying a government law that forced her into second-class status. It was the government of Montgomery, Alabama, which is a monopoly institution enforcing monopoly laws, that was oppressing her. There were no other busses in Montgomery for her to take. If she wanted to get from one part of town to another via the bus system, she was forced to submit to unjust laws.

The contrast with the Church should be obvious. Nobody is forcing you to go to Church, and when you go to Church, you are not forced to do anything. I address this in the post “Us” vs. “Them.” If you do not like the way the Church is run, you can go to another church.
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