A Privileged Mormon Woman Defects

Bubbles

[My darling husband has finally read this post, and I am updating it based on some of his comments. One of his suggested edits was the title, which used to read "A Mormon Princess Defects." Though he mostly liked this post, there were a few areas where he felt I had written in a manner that invited misunderstanding. I have also invited Christine's daughter, Emily, to send me her edit of how she believes this post should have read, given my opinion but her knowledge of the hearts of Christine and Malcolm. This post will remain my work, and Emily's edit, if she submits it, will be a separate post.]

If you are familiar with me and Millennial Star, you know that we are always sorry when someone decides to constructively desert their faith in Mormonism. Some of my colleagues express this sorrow by attacking.

I express this sorrow by performing analysis, as I did with the discussions (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) posted by those supporting/requesting/demanding female ordination.

I don’t typically listen to John Dehlin’s podcasts, but I have been wondering what was happening with him, in the wake of the recent excommunication of Kate Kelly. And so I browsed to his Facebook page and looked at the chatter going on over there.

This is how I came to listen to John Dehlin’s recent four-part podcast covering roughly six hours of conversation with Christine Jeppson Clark. Christine is a long-time friend of John’s, and her father is the now-deceased general authority, Malcolm Jeppson.

There are four points of interest here for me, as Christine describes her father’s involvement in coordinating discipline for individuals suspected of apostasy and her path out of the Church:

  1. An expanded view of how Church discipline is both local and yet under supervision.
  2. The importance of schema in interpreting our past and our present.
  3. The danger of living in fear and isolation, taught incorrect “truths.”
  4. How blessed I have been, by contrast.

I see Christine’s decision to depart from the faith of her childhood as a natural consequence of various factors, but I don’t take her actions as a legitimate critique of the Mormon faith. T 1 to paraphrase Baruch Spinoza:

“What Christine says about Mormonism tells us more about Christine than about Mormonism”. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. Obviously Christine is acting based on what she legitimately believes. I merely feel that the defection of any high profile member of a group is not necessarily a valid reason for deciding a group or movement is wrong. If that were the legitimate criterion for determining a movement or goverment was wrong, then there is no right in this world.

For Eternity and Time

[This post is part of a series on Joseph Smith's Polygamy. To read from the beginning or link to previously published posts, go to A Faithful Joseph.]

Jonathan and Elvira

Jonathan Holmes and Elvira Annie Cowles [Holmes Smith] circa 1870, just prior to Elvira’s death

As the Nauvoo temple neared completion, the non-Mormons in Illinois tore down all pretense of civil protection for the people in Nauvoo.

First to go was the Nauvoo city charter, which had authorized creation of the Nauvoo legion. Lacking a charter, Nauvoo couldn’t even maintain a police force to protect against petty crime. 1

The next threat was the beginning of the “wolf hunts” that had been threatened in 1844, a euphemism for attacks on outlying Mormon settlements and dwellings. In the months before the temple was completed, the wolf hunt mobs burned over 100 homes. 2

There was an arrest warrant out for Brigham Young. Word came that federal troops were advancing on Nauvoo, coming up the Mississippi River. 3 It was a time of severe tension, and Brigham knew he would be responsible for moving his people west.

Brigham was faced with the question of what to do with women whose husbands had died. The women wished to be sealed to their beloved, departed spouses. But what man could be counted on to marry and care for a woman who was eternally sealed to another man?

And so Brigham apparently made a policy decision. If a woman wished to be sealed to a deceased spouse for eternity, she could–so long as the man standing proxy agreed to marry the woman for time. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill, Carthage Conspiracy, p. 65.
  2. Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill, Carthage Conspiracy, pp. 36, 70.
  3. Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill, Carthage Conspiracy. Also documented at the Library of Congress, from research performed by Stephen Stathis circa 1978.

The Priesthood of God

The typical Protestant denomination, as implied, protested against the Catholic Church. There is often no hierarchical structure representing Priesthood functions. Many believe in what is known as the priesthood of all believers, meaning that proper faith alone gives authority. Seminaries and colleges are set up to teach the doctrines in preparation of ministry work. Theology degrees are handed out as de-facto representations of authorized congregation leadership. Decisions of the church are determined by those who feel called to leadership duty and then voted in by the membership to a group or committee tasked with governance. Mormonism’s authority doesn’t come from the doctrine, but more like the Catholic Priesthood hierarchical structure. Men are called by others without prior training or personal desire to different offices of authority and responsibility. The biggest difference is that all men can receive the Priesthood even without any offices, but it must be a formal recognition. No one can declare they have the Priesthood (Heb. 5:4) without ordination from someone who had it before them.

Both Mormons and Catholics believe they have been given the authority of the Priesthood through Peter, although in different ways. For the Catholic it came down directly from him to others while he lived without any break. Mormonism, of course, believe that the angel John the Baptist gave the right of outward ordinances and the angels Peter, James, and John the more spiritual higher authority. The reasoning is a continuation of the belief that God must have order in His Kingdom. Permission and power must be granted in a specific way for mortals to have any authority to bless the world. Any other way, no matter how sincere the individual, is not recognized by the Heavens. Continue reading

Kirby discusses an atheist Mormon kid, and gets some things right and others horribly wrong

Robert Kirby is a Mormon columnist for the SL Tribune. I have read 20 or so columns of his over the years, and some of them are really good and funny and others suffer from what I call the “straw man Mormon” argument.

The “straw man Mormon” argument is extremely common on the Bloggernacle, and it is this: invent an intolerant, holier-than-thou Mormon in your mind and then proceed to show how wrong this Mormon is. If this Mormon is wrong (which he is), then most Mormons (except for you) are wrong because in your mind this invented Mormons represents how most Mormons think. Therefore, we can assume that most Mormons are intolerant, holier-than-thou types because nobody wants to be like this (invented) Mormon.

This tactic is especially cruel because writers like Kirby will take one little characteristic that they have noticed in a few Mormons and then apply these negative characteristics to the entire Mormon population and inflate them into the dominant personality trait of all Mormons.

This Kirby column is a great example of the “straw man Mormon” argument at work. Here is Kirby’s point: if a good Mormon kid grows up and announces he is an atheist, then his very wrong Mormon parents will think the kid is lost and “going to hell” and “doomed,” etc, etc.

Kirby is of course correct that a loving God gives people lots of chances, on Earth and in the Spirit world, to change. He is also right that thinking the kid is doomed is short-sighted. He is also right that some parents probably overreact to their kids losing their testimonies.

Everybody reading this post probably knows some parents who have overreacted in this way. We could fill hundreds of pages on this blog with stories about these “wrong” parents.

But the truth is that everybody, including these parents, are human beings with nuances.

Continue reading

18 percent of Mormons approve of President Obama?

According to Gallup, 18 percent of Mormons approve of President Obama’s job performance. This is down from 43 percent right after he was elected.

Muslims and Jews both love the president.

Here are some fun charts. First, current approval ratings by religion:

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Next, approval ratings by Catholics, Protestants and Mormons over time:

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Last, approval ratings by Muslims and Jews over time:

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