The Importance of Biology

imageI was recently alerted to a new study on risk for children as a function of parents. The study of over 200,000 children (some 500 of whom are being raised by parents of the same gender) is that children raised by both their biological parents fare best, when one controls for other factors.

The study was titled “Emotional Problems among Children with Same-Sex Parents: Difference by Definition” by Donald Paul Sullins of The Catholic University of America, January 25, 2015.

I was able to find the study at this link. I see there is now a link in the sidebar to this study as well.

I was surprised by the introduction, which asserted that many studies have found children raised in households where both parents are of the same gender had been found to have improved outcomes. This surprised me because the studies I had read consistently indicated that children in same gender households did not do as well, controlling for variables. Continue reading

To my dear friend, John Dehlin

imageDear John,

I understand that you have recently been excommunicated.

You may recall that several years ago, I and my husband offered to help you with your podcast. At the time we were proposing to ask if Gladys Knight might be willing to be interviewed. For the longest time, my Dropbox included items from Mormon Stories.

Actively Agitating to Encourage People to Doubt their Testimonies

We didn’t help much. In fact, a few years ago when I tumbled across your rambling youtube video describing the dozens of reasons people leave the Church, I didn’t even recognize that you were someone I had corresponded with in the past. In those days a friend, presumably influenced by your certainty, was confidently proclaiming that President Monson was senile, along with a variety of other items from your general direction. At that time I, in good faith, participated in your survey that attempted to update the research that had shown why people leave the Church. I even sent it to my ward list.

I got two responses. One was from a man who had decided to give up trying to be a good Mormon, explained to me a variety of reasons he doubted. I corresponded with him and explained that the doubts he had were specious (they were, honestly) and expressed my hope that he would work his way past those doubts. The second response was from a long-time friend who warned me that your survey was bad stuff. Continue reading

The Church responds to Dehlin’s comment on disciplinary council

The Church issued this statement:

Holding a disciplinary council for a member of the Church is not something that any local leader takes lightly. Such councils are always held in private, and the member is always invited to be a part of that discussion. The decision as to whether to hold a disciplinary council, when and for what reasons rests with the local leader who knows the individual best. Local leaders operate under general principles and guidelines of the Church.

Such councils are always far better when all involved respect the principle of confidentiality. At the very least, this principle helps those members who wish to return to full fellowship at a later date. When the member has chosen to air their grievances in public, the Church reserves the right to correct the public record. In this case, attempts have been made to create the impression that the disciplinary council convened on Sunday, February 8, 2015, and which has resulted in a loss of Church membership or excommunication of Mr. Dehlin arose largely because of his views on same-sex marriage and priesthood ordination for women. Although his stated positions on those subjects are not consistent with the Church’s teachings, they were not cited in the local leader’s letter delivered to Mr. Dehlin on February 9, which spelled out the reasons for the local council’s unanimous decision, as follows:

Disputing the nature of our Heavenly Father and the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Statements that the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham are fraudulent and works of fiction.
Statements and teachings that reject The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as being the true Church with power and authority from God.
In his letter the local leader stated, “I want you to know, Brother Dehlin, that this action was not taken against you because you have doubts or because you were asking questions about Church doctrine. I also want you to know that I acknowledge your right to criticize the Church and its doctrines and to try to persuade others to your cause. Our Heavenly Father has given us moral agency to decide how we will live our lives, and cherished free speech rights in this country allow you to openly state your opinions. But you do not have the right to remain a member of the Church in good standing while openly and publicly trying to convince others that Church teachings are in error.”

View local leader’s letter courtesy of the Deseret News

Church discipline is not designed to be the end of the process, but the beginning of the road back to full fellowship. One who leaves the Church is always welcome to attend weekly worship services and is always welcome to return to Church membership through the grace and Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Of Apostates and History

imageNearly 170 years ago those who believed in the Church of Jesus Christ were directed to evacuate Nauvoo, their City Beautiful. Their two leaders, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, had been killed while in the protection of the state militia. The state had removed legal protections by revoking the Nauvoo City Charter, and the surrounding community had burned Mormon homes and killed Mormon adherents.

In the ceremony held this past Saturday to commemorate the flight of the Saints from Nauvoo, starting February 4, 1846, this failure of the United States to protect the rights of her citizens was discussed. But we also spoke of how we now enjoy full rights and protection before the law. And in this vein, we pledged allegiance to the flag of that government which has sustained us in our freedoms.

This month there has been a bit of fuss over some dissidents. Are they brave? Are they not?

Here is my question. Can you remember the dissidents of yesteryear? Continue reading