Guest post: liberal Mormonism, a parable

This is a guest post by Tom Stringham.

At a conference for members of an animal rights group

Julie: Hey Ross! Good to see you here. It’s always good to come to these conferences.

Ross: Hi Julie! You too! I know, they’re fun.

Julie: So what have you been up to lately—hey wait, why are you drinking chocolate milk?

Ross: Sorry?

Julie: Well, you’re drinking chocolate milk. That’s dairy …

Ross: Oh, well yeah. I get that most members of the group don’t do chocolate milk, but personally I don’t see what’s wrong with it. I think a lot of members are a little judgmental of people who eat some kinds of eggs or dairy.

Julie: You think I’m judgmental of people who eat eggs and dairy?

Ross: Well maybe not you, but yeah, I definitely feel judged when I drink chocolate milk or even talk about it here.

Julie: Isn’t that because you’re hanging around with a bunch of vegans?

Ross: I think we could be more accepting as vegans.
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Recommended Post: Chipping Away at Priesthood Authority of Mormon Prophets to Undermine Faith

Over at the Mormon Women Stand website, Angela Fallentine has an excellent article entitled “Chipping Away at Priesthood Authority of Mormon Prophets to Undermine Faith“.

Angela is one of the founders of Mormon Women Stand and has worked in international and public affairs for both the LDS Church and private organizations.

Here is an excerpt:

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Several years ago, I received an assignment to work in the Scheduling Office of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. This particular office is located in the Church Administration Building and is surrounded by the offices of various apostles and general authorities. I would arrive at my desk by 7:30 a.m. each morning and it wasn’t long before I started to notice that Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, whose office was just down the hall, was always getting to work a little earlier than my 7:30 a.m. start time. I knew that he was in his 90’s and in a wheelchair, but yet there he was. Elder Wirthlin passed away several weeks later and his example left an indelible impression on my heart about dedication and the ways in which the Lord sustains our prophets, seers and revelators. Nothing keeps them from doing the Lord’s work for the duration of their life—and I guarantee that they wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Guest post: support for SSM correlates with support for other nontraditional social views

By Jonathan A. Cavender

Jonathan A. Cavender is an attorney working in Provo, Utah. He is an avid fan of C. S. Lewis and Japanese modern literature. He is the proud father of four children, and records his daily thoughts on the scriptures (along with other odds and ends) at http://cavenderletters.blogspot.com/

Those who oppose same-sex marriage often hear from those who are in favor of it, “why does it matter?” When we share the concerns we have about a slippery slope leading from support for same-sex marriage to other destructive influences on religion and individual belief, we are sometimes derided.

Now, a survey posted on “The Public Discourse,” and performed by Mark Regnerus, has shown just what the results of adopting the world’s standards of morality regarding same-sex marriage can be.

In a massive study, involving 15,738 Americans, representative nationally, the study showed a strong correlation between support for same-sex marriage and other beliefs in opposition to traditional Christian morality. Churchgoing Christians who supported same-sex marriage were 726% more likely than churchgoing Christians who do not support same-sex marriage to believe that viewing pornography was ok, 341% more likely to believe that premarital habitation was a good thing, 647% more likely to believe that no-strings sex is ok, only 64% as likely to believe that couples with kids should stay married except if abused, 577% more likely to believe that marital infidelity is sometimes ok, 602% more likely to support abortion rights, and an astonishing 1,292% more likely to say that 3+ adults living in a sexual relationship was ok.

What is even more alarming is the fact that in each of those categories, the active, churchgoing supporters of same-sex marriage were closer to the average views of the world at large than they were to the average views of the Christian population. In other words, the distinctiveness of traditional Christian beliefs on sexual morality are lost among those who support same-sex marriage. In fact, churchgoing Christians who support same-sex marriage are actually more likely to say pornographic viewing is ok and that they support abortion rights (and equally like to say they believe marital infidelity is sometimes ok) than the general population at large.

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Guest post: Why We Need Definitions, Borders, and Boundary Maintenance

This is a guest post by Jamie Huston, who blogs at gentlyhewstone.com.

PART I: INTRODUCTION

Can you define the word “chair?” Seems simple—let’s say it’s a small, raised platform that’s supported by legs and which typically has a back against which your torso can rest. That definition brings to mind a single, simple, useful picture—in short, a conservative ideal of chairs.

But might that seem too restrictive? So let’s say a chair can have variations. Chairs with wheels are chairs, too, and shouldn’t be judged for being different! Those tacky old chairs that are shaped like a giant hand? Those are chairs that demand to exist as they are—a chair that lives on the fringes of society and is getting tired of being mistreated.

Maybe accepting some natural variations is morally decent, though, right? But now we’re on a slippery slope. There are some people who claim to be more high-minded than the rest, who embrace diversity and tolerance as the greatest values, and who therefore feel driven to constantly expand our understanding of chairs for us, for the good of those would-be chairs which have been marginalized and for those of us who are too culturally dull to know that we had many more chairs among us in the first place.

Is not, they indignantly say, a chair anything on which one might reasonably sit? Is not a bean bag a valid chair? A couch? The ground itself? Well, perhaps, we’re inclined to say, for we see many of our peers nodding at the wisdom of this, and feeling good about ourselves for being such pioneers of inclusion.

And now we’re solidly in liberal territory (liberal, after all, connotes expansiveness above all—the eternal obsession with widening existing things). Once we’ve established that the very surface of the world could be called a chair, for it can kind of serve a similar function if forced to, we have given a green light to the radicals who insist that it’s a moral imperative to recognize as a legitimate chair anything and everything that could ever conceivably be used for sitting. The hood of a car, a rock, a stack of books: all chairs.

By this point, much of society has decided that—in line with the warped thinking that has gotten us this far—virtue lies in defending the most extreme minorities possible. Life becomes a contest to advertise our righteousness by campaigning for the most imaginative visions of chairs. The tops of skyscrapers, piles of razor blades, the backs of sleeping grizzly bears: all are supposedly just as valid as any other kind of chair.
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Guest post: only believers can testify

This is a guest post by Tom Stringham

Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

A month ago I wrote that faithful bloggers are “often failing to productively engage their opponents within and without the church,” because “they have not openly challenged the importance of discourse itself by supplanting it with the word of God through scripture, His servants or our own inspired testimony.” Because of my unclear wording, I was misunderstood by some readers as saying that rational discourse should not be used in defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ. What I meant to say, as I explained to one commenter, is that a blogger should “teach and preach” the gospel, not just “teach” or “preach” it.

With that in mind, however, I’m following up on my last guest post not so much by way of qualification of my original argument as by expansion of it. I am convinced that earnest testimony is what is needed from faithful Mormon bloggers of this generation. More specifically, I think what we really need is a culture of testimony-bearing.
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