About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

Stop expecting other Church members to be perfect

This post is aimed at people who have left the Church or are thinking of leaving the Church.

This post is going to be unusual and not what you usually read at Mormon blogs.

Here is my plea:  “Stop expecting other Church members to be perfect.  Nobody is perfect.  No Church member believes he or she is perfect.  We all know that we are ALL imperfect.  And this means that occasionally, for reasons beyond our control, we may say something tactless or mean-spirited or intolerant or judgmental.  And the reason we may do this is that we are not perfect.”

I am asking people who have left the Church or who are thinking of leaving to have charity and love for those of us (yes, that includes me) who are imperfect.  And because we are imperfect, we will not always interact with you the way you would like us to.

I will be frank:  it is a bit unfair of you to expect other people to deal with you perfectly when you know that is an impossibility.  Nobody can read your mind.  And even if we spent hours upon hours in training trying to become more tactful, it is extremely likely that we will still say or do something imperfectly.  And we would probably say something you find offensive, or hurtful or intolerant or judgmental — even if we did not intend to.

Here is the thing about mortality:  the people around us, especially those in the Church, are both A)well-intentioned but B)flawed.  Just about every active member around you *wants* you to stay at church.  If you have ever attended a bishopric meeting or a ward council meeting, one of the primary subjects being discussed is:  how do we help sister or brother so-and-so feel more welcome at church?  So, the point I am making is that people are trying, in their imperfect way, to help you feel more comfortable in the Gospel.

But again I must be frank:  articles like this one seem to miss an important point.  They miss that everybody is accountable for their actions, include those who decide to take offense at something an imperfect person does or says.

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AG Sessions outlines religious freedom exemptions

I would love some help from knowledgeable people analyzing this legal guidance by the Trump administration.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued government-wide legal guidance Friday that urges sweeping protection for religious freedom and could impact a series of pending policy decisions involving health care, LGBT rights and even disaster relief.

Sessions billed the 25-page memo directed to all federal agencies as a response to an executive order President Donald Trump signed in May, promoting efforts to promote “religious liberty.”

That order triggered a major showdown within the administration as religious and social conservatives pressed for treatment that could essentially allow them to ignore anti-discrimination requirements, particularly in the area of sexual orientation, while more moderate forces warned that upending existing protections would trigger an uproar that could derail other administration priorities.

The new Justice Department guidance takes a muscular view of religious freedom rights, but officials said that the document is a neutral description of existing law and not an effort to weigh in on particular policy issues.

“Religious liberty is not merely a right to personal religious beliefs or even to worship in a sacred place,” Sessions wrote. “Except in the narrowest of circumstances, no one should be forced to choose between living out his or her faith and complying with the law. Therefore, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, religious observance should be reasonably accommodated in all government activity, including employment, contracting and programming.”

The legal analysis was unveiled as the Trump administration is considering or pursuing a series of moves that could broaden the rights of the religious, including allowing churches more latitude to enter political campaigns without jeopardizing their tax exemptions and permitting religious institutions to receive more types of disaster relief funds.

Also, please note that today (Friday), the Trump administration rolled back the birth control mandate for Obamacare.

Eliminate nationalism?

The final session of Sunday’s general conference included a very interesting talk by Elder Ballard in which he said the following:

“We need to embrace God’s children compassionately and eliminate any prejudice, including racism, sexism, and nationalism,” Elder Ballard said. “Let it be said that we truly believe — and truly live — the words of the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi: ‘(The Lord) inviteth … all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female … and all are alike unto God.'”

Eliminating racism and sexism are not controversial, and many Church talks over the years have emphasized these points.  Elder Ballard’s was the second talk of this conference to discuss the evil of racism.

Eliminating nationalism, however, is not as common a subject.  I did a search on lds.org, and there simply are not that many talks about nationalism.

Such a subject is controversial for many reasons.  There are more latter-day Saints outside the U.S. than inside.  Eliminating nationalism in the U.S. seems politically correct, especially in the days of the nationalist president Donald Trump, but what about eliminating Brazilian nationalism or Japanese nationalism or French nationalism?

Are the prophets saying that no latter-day Saints in these countries should have nationalist feelings?  Should they not love their countries and have feelings of patriotism?

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