Loving Those Who Sin While Still Opposing Sin Itself

I have limited time to write these days. I have a larger writing project underway and for the time being I have chosen to focus on it instead of blogging. But I want to take a moment to post a brief response to an essay that is getting some attention in social media entitled “Why ‘Love the sinner, hate the sin’ must be removed from Mormon culture.”

The difficulty with these kinds of posts is that they almost always violate their own premise. Decrying the judgmentalism of others is itself inherently judgmental. In saying that diagnosing sin requires placing oneself above another, the author is himself diagnosing sin and placing himself above the diagnosers he is diagnosing. There is simply no way to call out others for being judgmental without being hoist by your own petard. Continue reading

Podcast: Mormon Stories in Shorts

In December 2013, Scott Hales bought himself an iPad and a digital drawing software program. He was in the final stages of finishing his PhD dissertation and was ready to try his hand at a lighter medium.

Dusting off his dormant art-major-dropout skills, he started drawing comic strips about a self-proclaimed weird Mormon girl. Enid is fifteen and on a journey of self-discovery. She explores the area between doubt and belief while grappling with doctrine and church history she seeks to understand.

Her struggles are compounded by living in a non-traditional family. She finds herself in a parenting role during her teenage years when she most needs a nurturing support system. Her home life is anything but the ideal she hears about at church.

The comic started out as an experiment, but Scott soon realized he had discovered an effective tool for examining more closely the potholes in the road. It is Enid’s quirkiness that creates a safe space for readers. If Enid’s thoughts uncomfortably mirror the readers’ at times, the laughter can easily be attributed to her oddness. And so Hales deftly leads an expedition through the idiosyncrasies and the beauties of Mormon culture.

It’s tempting to label Hales’s work as satire, but the potential sting of his message is short-lived and meant to work as an antiseptic. By encouraging readers to laugh at Mormon peculiarities, Hales hopes to create an environment where thorny topics can be talked about in an open, honest, and faithful manner.

Particularly helpful is the launch pad he constructs for discussion of painful issues. He embraces faith crises, uncomfortable history, Mormon social mores, the nature of faith, as well as what he has called “disputed space.” Sharing these vignettes with family and friends may invite discussions that otherwise could go unexplored, unexamined, and unresolved.

The Garden of Enid shows Hales’s bravery to own the good, the bad, and the sublime in the Mormon story. Its success will hopefully encourage others to similarly create works that constructively help Mormons balance their relationship between God, community, and church.

Join Laura Harris Hales of LDS Perspectives Podcast as she interviews Enid creator Scott Hales.

John Dehlin has a woman problem

If you are interested in the details of the latest battle between various Mormon apostate groups and people, you may find this post worthwhile.

To sum up:  John Dehlin has a huge problem with some of the women who were supporters and/or employees at one time.  He is accused of underpaying his employees, taking a huge salary for himself and not being honest in his financial disclosures.  And apparently now Kate Kelly hates him.

Speaking of priestcraft, you can read more about it here.

Book Review: “Dime Novel Mormons”

[Yes, this is the 3rd review M* has done of this book. You should read the review anyway.]

When I was a kid, I read a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories that was mostly unabridged, and I have been hooked on Holmes ever since.  However, there was one small bit of abridgment that I overlooked at the time (looking back at the book – my mom still has it – there was a footnote mentioning this) where the “Mormon” parts of A Study in Scarlet were taken out, with the reasoning that those chapters didn’t deal with Holmes.

Fast forward a decade and a half (give or take a few years), and I’m on a mission for the LDS (Mormon) church.  When out looking for people to teach, suddenly everyone is asking us about The Avenging Angel and Danites, saying things like “you guys have one whacked out history, dudes!”  The one time I broke mission rules (I was a pretty strait-laced, rule keeping guy, which often caused massive amounts of conflicts with my companions, especially since the president would deliberately give me slacker, disobedient companions so I could “whip them into shape” – ugh, not fun; anyway back to the review . . .) was watching that movie, just so I could see what everyone was talking about. Continue reading