Some thoughts on excommunication

This is a guest post by Beau Sorenson.

Beau Sorensen is a healthcare executive living in Provo, Utah with his wife
and four children. He is co-author of the book “Entrepreneur on Fire”

It’s taken me a few days to come up with some coherent
thoughts on the calls to disciplinary hearings for John Dehlin and Kate
Kelly. I’ve read more than is probably good and thought constantly about it.
That being said, here are the two most important thoughts I have on the
matter:

1. Excommunication isn’t a punishment. (Note: neither Bro. Dehlin or Sis. Kelly has been excommunicated. This will be decided during the disciplinary council process). We need to shift our paradigm. All I
have heard since this broke is how Bro. Dehlin and Sis. Kelly are being
punished. Mr. Dehlin is being punished for his vocal advocacy of LGBT causes
and Mormon Stories podcast and website where he openly admits that he has
serious doubts about members of the Quorum of the Twelve, the Book of
Mormon, and the LDS Church. Ms. Kelly is being punished for being an
outspoken advocate of women, for mobilizing hundreds of men and women alike
to push for the ordination of women to priesthood offices.

We are wrong to think of excommunication in this way. It certainly can come
across as a punishment. It will lessen the impact of their voices over the
long run, though it is amplifying them today. Instead, excommunication is a
merciful blessing to Bro. Dehlin and Sis. Kelly. How can taking away these
blessings be an act of mercy? It is merciful to these two because they don’t
just lose the blessings of the temple and baptism – they also lose the
covenant relationship. This allows them to work through whatever issues they
have with God, with the Church, or with the Brethren without covenants
hanging over their head. To quote Doctrine & Covenants 82:3, “For of him
unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the
greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.”

They had the greater light and knowledge at one point in time, but years of
doubts and life experience have caused that light to dissipate. That’s not
to say it can’t return. What it is to say is that as they continue down the
paths they are on right now, it is better for their souls to continue
without the covenants they have made, lest they receive greater
condemnation.

Excommunication isn’t the end, it’s a new beginning. Continue reading

New Website: Discussing Marriage

This morning, a new website launched at www.discussingmarriage.org.

What is marriage? Why is the topic such a contentious issue in modern day politics? What is at stake in the marriage debate? On this website, the authors attempt to respond to these questions and more. There are new and compelling arguments for why man-woman marriage is good public policy, but they are not well known. The hope is that this website will help bring these arguments to light, and provide people with the resources to understand them. The purpose of this site is also to inject humility into the conversation on both sides of the issue. Reasoned, measured, and respectful dialogue is possible with regards to marriage.

A note for M* readers: There is no reason that we, as Latter-day Saints, cannot defend traditional marriage as a pillar of our faith, and as sound, informed, reasoned public policy. There are secular, public sphere arguments for traditional marriage — perhaps dozens of them — that have nothing to do with religious doctrine or belief. This site will present them (there are two currently published, with many others on the way).

Current articles:
The Conjugal View and Revisionist View of Marriage
The Argument from Crucial Distinction
The Argument from Public Interest
The Objection from Infertility
The Objection from Bigotry

Please visit the site, and read the articles — and share them. There are YouTube videos also associated with each article.

Like the page on Facebook/discussingmarriage
Join the conversation on Twitter @discussmarriage
Subscribe to the YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/discussingmarriage
Subscribe to be notified by email when new articles are published.

Meet the new bigotry, same as the old bigotry

This is a guest post by Michael Towns.

In 1971, seminal English rock band The Who released a classic entitled “Won’t Get Fooled Again” which includes these words: “Meet the new boss….same as the old boss!” For decades, it’s been interpreted in a political context. Nixon was viewed as not that different as Johnson – both escalated military actions in Vietnam and thus the “new boss” was the same as the “old boss.”

There is a troubling aspect to contemporary social discourse. It goes something like this: you don’t agree with the social, political, or religious beliefs of a person or a group of people, yet instead of meeting those beliefs from a position of mutual respect in the marketplace of ideas, you label the person or group using a catch-all epithet designed to so marginalize your opponent that the labeling party essentially can claim a victory before the battle has even started. The labeling party views this result as perfectly condign to the crime of talking about certain topics. Meet the New Bigotry. It’s the same as the Old Bigotry.

In a way I can see the logic of such a tactic. By anathematizing the “other”, you can insulate yourself from having to wrestle with your political or social conceits. By marginalizing those who believe differently than you, you can supposedly remain perched upon your moral tower while ensconced in your blissful echo chamber. It frees you from having to engage in the rough and tumble of debate. But let me be perfectly blunt about it: doing so makes the person a complete anti-intellectual coward.
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The LDS Church Responds to Criticism and Details Efforts to Reach Out to Women

Relief_Society_Meeting_Crowd

The Millennial Star has received the following letter from the Public Affairs department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints entitled “Context Missing From Discussion About Women”.

The letter, written by Michael Otterson, Managing Director of Public Affairs, responds to recent criticisms from bloggers and explains and clarifies the Church’s efforts to reach out to LDS women and to listen to their ideas and concerns. It also clarifies the role of Public Affairs and their supervision by the highest authorities of the church.

Letter: Context Missing From Discussion About Women (PDF Document)

Text of the letter follows:


Context missing from discussion about women

Comments on various blogs over recent months about what Church leaders
should or should not think and do about women’s roles in The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints prompt me to provide some context from an insider
perspective that may be helpful.

Continue reading