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.

Evil speaking

When pondering the Church’s recent handbook changes on same-sex marriage, the thing that has made me most distraught has been the public reaction of so many of our brothers and sisters. Modern-day prophets have outlined in hundreds of recent talks how the primary test of our generation will be whether people can follow Church leadership even when it is difficult. How quickly people seem to forget!

Elder Christofferson has made it abundantly clear that the Church’s recent changes in the handbook of instructions are inspired Church policy and in line with the Savior’s teachings.

Regarding the issue of same-sex relationships, Elder Christofferson said:

We’re not going to yield on our efforts to help people find what brings happiness, but we know sin does not. And so we’re going to stand firm there because we don’t want to mislead people. There’s no kindness in misdirecting people and leading them into any misunderstanding about what is true, what is right, what is wrong, what leads to Christ and what leads away from Christ.

If you read many Mormon blogs and other comments on social media these days, it is clear that many people are very quick to question the prophets. In fact, I have read a lot of unfortunate criticism of the prophets from people who should know better. Many of these people have gone through the endowment ceremony and made a covenant to avoid “evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed.” I daresay some of these people are breaking their covenant. I would like to bring to their attention a talk from Elder Oaks that directly addresses this issue. There have been many attempts to prooftext the meaning of the phrase “evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed.” These attempts to minimize the importance of this covenant get it exactly wrong. Elder Oaks makes is clear:

“Criticism is particularly objectionable when it is directed toward Church authorities, general or local. Jude condemns those who ‘speak evil of dignities.’ (Jude 1:8.) Evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed is in a class by itself. It is one thing to depreciate a person who exercises corporate power or even government power. It is quite another thing to criticize or depreciate a person for the performance of an office to which he or she has been called of God. It does not matter that the criticism is true. As Elder George F. Richards, President of the Council of the Twelve, said in a conference address in April 1947,

“‘When we say anything bad about the leaders of the Church, whether true or false, we tend to impair their influence and their usefulness and are thus working against the Lord and his cause.’ (In Conference Report, Apr. 1947, p. 24.)” (Address to Church Educational System teachers, Aug. 16, 1985.)

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If you think the Church’s policies are unjust, you need to read this

I did not write the following analogy, but I will happily post it here in the hopes it will reach people who feel Church policies are unjust.

If you are feeling angry and emotional about Church policies, my advice is not to comment at M* because your comments will not be seen by anybody. If you have sincere questions (and are not a troll pretending to ask sincere questions), then hopefully this analogy will help you. If you already understand the role of modern-day prophets, then I believe this analogy will help you explain the Church to others.

“Here’s a simple analogy that most people should be able to understand.

There’s a special concert being performed in a beautiful concert hall. You have several choices as to what you can do.

You can ignore the concert and go and do something else that is more to your liking.

You can enter the concert hall and listen to the beautiful music and enjoy it if you’re willing to pay the price of admission.

If you have prepared yourself sufficiently, you may participate in the orchestra, under the direction of the conductor. You will follow the conductor. You will read the music. You will sit in your assigned section as directed.

You can choose to go and start your own orchestra (or rock band) with any other musicians that you’d like to associate with and have your own concert with your own music.

Here’s what you can’t do.

You can’t stand up in the middle of the performance and ridicule the orchestra and the conductor. If you do, you will be asked to leave the concert hall.

If you’re a member of the orchestra and you play the violin, you cannot go and sit in the percussion section. If you do, you will likely be asked to get back in line or leave the stage.

If you’re a member of the orchestra, you cannot suddenly decide that you want to play the oboe part on your viola. If you do, you will likely be asked to get back in line or leave the stage.

You will have disqualified yourself from participating and you will no longer be part of the orchestra. You can blame the conductor. You can blame the other members of the orchestra and call them “sheeple” because they willingly choose to follow the conductor, play their assigned parts, and be part of the “crowd.”

In any case, those in the orchestra who play the selected music, in their assigned seats, and who follow the conductor’s direction, will be part of a beautiful experience that they would otherwise never experience. Similarly, those audience members who sit and pay attention will enjoy the beautiful music that has been presented to them.”

New Church policies on same-sex marriage

A Church spokesman confirmed changes in the Church handbook regarding apostasy and same-sex marriage and the children the grow up on same-sex households.

I am going to quote from a KSL story that is respectful and appears accurate.

SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Church confirmed Thursday that children living with same-sex parents or guardians will not be allowed membership in the church until reaching “legal age” and the individual “disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage.”

The new instructions are included in a revision to the Church Handbook of Instructions for leaders.

The criteria for membership also requires an individual to no longer be living with a parent “who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage.” A mission president or a stake president must now request approval from the Office of the First Presidency to baptize and confirm, ordain, or recommend missionary service for an individual in these circumstances.

Church spokesman Erik Hawkins released the following statement:
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Lots of interesting tidbits in the latest Pew poll on religion

A lot of the focus from the latest Pew poll on religion will be on how the U.S. is becoming less religious, but that is not even close to the whole story. In fact, Pew notes that:

Among the roughly three-quarters of U.S. adults who do claim a religion, there has been no discernible drop in most measures of religious commitment. Indeed, by some conventional measures, religiously affiliated Americans are, on average, even more devout than they were a few years ago.

The religious are becoming more religious, and young people are less religious but are more “spiritual.”

The Pew poll of 35,000 people in 2014 was an update on a similar poll taken in 2007. Some of the most interesting details were released today, Nov. 3.

Here are some highlights I found interesting:

*Mormons are more likely to say they pray daily, read scriptures, attend Gospel study groups, share the Gospel and attend church than they were seven years earlier.
*Mormons, along with the rest of the world, are much more likely to say that “homosexuality should be accepted by society.”
*People who are generally not religious are much more likely to be associated with the Democratic party, and this tendency is growing significantly.
*There has been very little movement in the last seven years in peoples’ views on abortion. Mormons are least likely to say that abortion should be legal in all/most cases.

There is a lot more there. Please check it out and read it yourself.