The LDS Church Responds to Criticism and Details Efforts to Reach Out to Women

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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.

Recently a woman posted this comment on a blog:

Please understand that not [all] women who wish to be seen in all their worth are seeking to be ordained to the priesthood…. What I am finding…. is that most of these women have been demeaned and marginalized by one (and usually many more) of the brothers of our faith. They have been told their ideas won’t work. They have been told they are not important. They have been told they are lesser.

The point is a noteworthy one, namely that LDS women who describe themselves
as feminists don’t necessarily seek ordination, but rather to be genuinely valued
and given a voice that is respected and welcomed.

There are three specific criticisms that have been raised on various blogs that will
be addressed here:

Criticism 1: The Church doesn’t want to hear from women about
painful experiences, doesn’t talk to them or only wants to hear from
women who are “blindly obedient.”

This is untrue. I can say with certainty that not one of the senior leaders of the
Church would ever want any Latter-day Saint to feel demeaned or marginalized.
Does it happen? Yes, of course. In 30,000 congregations led by lay leaders, it
would be extraordinary if it didn’t. Serving as a stake president or bishop is
demanding and exhausting, and by and large they do a remarkable job of it.
Likewise the countless men and women who serve at various levels in wards and
branches. But we are all human, and occasionally we say things clumsily or we
lack sufficient sensitivity or language skills or experience. The Church is a place
where we make mistakes and then hopefully learn to do better. It is also a place
where we allow others to make mistakes and improve.

What this argues for is better training of leaders and members, and more
patience, more long-suffering, more sensitivity and Christlike behavior on the
part of all of us. Bishops are extraordinarily busy, but like local leaders, should be
particularly aware of how easy it is to come across as patronizing or dismissive
when a woman wants more than anything to be listened to and feel as if she has
truly been heard.

But this is quite a different conversation from one about ordaining women to every office, from bishop to apostle, thereby radically redefining how Jesus structured His Church. Those of the Twelve apostles whose responsibilities include leadership and training are acutely aware of these training challenges and expend much energy addressing them.

If there is one thing that my lifetime of working with Church leaders has taught me, it is that they care deeply about Church members and their feelings. In our remarkable system of Church governance, no man or woman can rise to high office without first serving for decades in responsibilities that bring them up-close-and-personal with a mind-boggling array of human problems. In the course of their lives, apostles have spent countless hours in such counseling situations, struggling and sharing tears and helping members work the miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ into their lives. While their work as apostles is largely accomplished through local leaders ministering to their congregations around the world, they remain crucially aware of issues that concern the members of the Church.

Many members do not understand this. Even as the Church has grown much larger, the First Presidency and the Twelve are widely read on current issues and continue to travel and engage with the body of the saints. Such assignments invariably bring them into contact with rank-and-file members of diverse thought and backgrounds, not just leadership. I have heard members of the First Presidency and the Twelve speak many times of those experiences, and what they learn from such engagements. When they return, those interactions are often shared and a formidable knowledge base develops over time, especially given the lifetime of experiences of the senior Brethren. The same is true for the women leaders of the Church, who meet one-on-one in the homes of members, hold focus groups and have countless conversations with women and men as they travel the world.

Neither are General Authorities immune from challenges that can arise in their own families, with children or grandchildren, nieces and nephews. One of the great blessings of the Church is that we have leaders who experience the same burdens as the rest of us. They are not aloof.

Additionally, various Church bodies such as the Missionary and Priesthood departments constantly channel information to Church leaders through more formal channels such as the councils on which the apostles sit. Some Church entities such as Public Affairs and the Church’s Research and Information Division specifically seek out opinions from members.

An example: some years ago Public Affairs invited three groups of women, all active Latter-day Saints and including feminists, to come for several hours each to discuss concerns. I use the term “feminist” here not to imply political activism or campaigning, but simply as a term to describe those who want to further the interests of women in a variety of ways. The first two groups included single and married women, working mothers and stay-at home moms. Several in the groups had earned PhDs. The third group consisted mostly of members of stake Relief Society and Young Women’s presidencies, and we were particularly interested to learn if there were differences in perceptions between these groups.

In order to build an environment of trust, we do not disclose whom we meet with or what is discussed, although we do sometimes ask for permission to record the conversations so we don’t miss anything important. We find that this creates a safe place for transparent conversation. For several hours, a woman staffer facilitated the conversations, and I sat in and mostly listened for a major part of the time. I assure you that these women were not wallflowers. We learned a lot, and those findings have long since been shared with members of the Twelve individually and in appropriate council settings. Those kinds of conversations are continuing under similar guidelines to promote honest discussions.

Criticism 2: There is nowhere for women who don’t feel safe in their wards to have a conversation about some of their negative experiences that isn’t seen as subversive.

This is a serious question and I think is the kind of discussion that the Brethren welcome as they seek to understand the concerns of the members. My advice is to be patient, and trust in those whom we sustain as apostles and prophets and the revelatory process.

As we have said, most bishops, stake presidents and local leaders do a remarkable job. Sometimes, men and women in wards take offense when counsel is given. And, yes, sometimes we don’t handle things well.

First, local leaders should always be given a chance to listen. If approached prayerfully and sincerely, most will.

Second, every member, whether man or woman, should initiate such an interview with a willingness to take counsel as well as deliver a message.

Third, every ward also has a Relief Society presidency. While matters of personal worthiness must remain a matter between the member and the bishop who is a “common judge,” other matters of personal concern to a woman can be voiced privately to faithful Relief Society Presidency members and other local leaders. Without becoming an advocate, such a confidante could not only offer counsel but could be invited to accompany a sister to see a bishop or a stake president in some circumstances.

Criticism 3: By not engaging with the more extreme groups, the Church – and Public Affairs in particular – is not acting as Christ would.

First, it’s important to understand that the Public Affairs Department of the Church does not freelance. For Public Affairs to initiate or take a position inconsistent with the views of those who preside over the Church is simply unthinkable, as anyone who has ever worked for the Church will attest.

As managing director of the Public Affairs Department, I work under the direct supervision of two members of the Twelve apostles, two members of the Presidency of the Seventy and the Presiding Bishop, and alongside a remarkable and devoted staff of men and women.

This group of senior General Authorities often refers matters of particular importance to other councils of men and women leaders, to the full Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and to the First Presidency for further discussion or decision.

The dedicated men and women who work for Public Affairs reflect diverse backgrounds and experiences. Some are native Utahns. Others grew up elsewhere in the United States and some, like me, were born in other countries or are converts to the Church. Young and older, single and married, they have worked through their own challenging life experiences and learned and grown from them, as we all do.

Occasionally, as we have seen in recent weeks on some feminist blogs, those who are spokespeople for the Church and therefore are required to put their names out in the public square find themselves in the cross-hairs of critics. Sometimes those critics are highly cynical and make things personal. In recent weeks, I have seen some of our staff ridiculed by some feminist commentators, called disingenuous or, worse, accused of lying.

Our people are professionals and they have borne this with charity, good grace and without the slightest complaint. I don’t believe for a minute that these strident voices represent a significant proportion of LDS women, or even of those Church members who describe themselves as feminists.

Certainly all the staff understand that public relations is best understood as a bridging activity to build relationships, not a set of messaging activities designed to buffer an organization from others. Readiness to meet with many different groups is therefore basic to public affairs work for the Church, and we do it all the time.

Yet there are a few people with whom Public Affairs and General Authorities do not engage, such as individuals or groups who make non-negotiable demands for doctrinal changes that the Church can’t possibly accept. No matter what the intent, such demands come across as divisive and suggestive of apostasy rather than encouraging conversation through love and inclusion. Ultimately, those kinds of actions can only result in disappointment and heartache for those involved.

We might wonder what the Savior’s reaction would have been had the many prominent women in his life taken such a course. If Mary Magdalene, or Mary, his mother, or Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, had demanded ordination to the Twelve, had spoken publicly about their insistence and made demands such as we hear today, how would Jesus have felt, who loved them every bit as much as he loved the Twelve? Some of these women were closest to him in life and in death. One was the first mortal to witness a resurrected Being. There was nothing “lesser” about these women in his eyes.

I suppose we do not know all the reasons why Christ did not ordain women as apostles, either in the New Testament or the Book of Mormon, or when the Church was restored in modern times. We only know that he did not, that his leaders today regard this as a doctrinal issue that cannot be compromised, and that agitation from a few Church members is hindering the broader and more productive conversation about the voice, value and visibility of women in the Church that has been going on for years and will certainly continue (the lowering of the age requirement for female missionary service was consistent with this conversation).

Few can doubt that the Internet has transformed our society for the better in many ways, notably in providing a voice for everyone with a keyboard or mobile device. The problem with the Internet, as we all know, is that it has also become a place for angry venting, cynical put-downs and the circulating of misinformation. What we read there is often anonymous and unverifiable. People are now apt to quote any blog as a legitimate source, no matter how extreme or cynical or how few people it represents, especially if it happens to comport with their personal view. There is an old quote, attributed to Mark Twain, suggesting that a lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. Never has that been truer than today, and it can make civil gospel conversations on some topics difficult.

Inevitably, some will respond to a lengthy post like this with animosity or will attempt to parse words or misinterpret what I have said, “straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.” Nevertheless, I hope that we will see less cynicism and criticism, more respectful dialogue, more kindness and civility and more generosity of spirit as those members who are prone to use the Internet engage with each other. As Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson said recently: “May we realize just how much we need each other, and may we all love one another better,” no matter which chair we’re sitting in.

Michael Otterson
Managing Director
Public Affairs
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

219 thoughts on “The LDS Church Responds to Criticism and Details Efforts to Reach Out to Women

  1. Lamoni:

    I’m afraid that you’ve bought into two falsehoods:

    1. That the church has sided with one group of members over another. (This is a falsehood created or perpetuated by Ms Stack of the SL Tribune by her lopsided reportage of a recent interview/meeting of MWS by church PA dept.)

    2. That the leaders of OW are faithful to the Lord’s true church.

    I’m confident that many supporters or rank-and-file of OW have been beguiled by their leaders. But the OW leadership is smart enough to know what has happened to churches that have ordained women over the past 25 years. It has feminized those churches and led to their near destruction. Those churches are pretty much impotent now. They’ve crashed. See: http://www.podles.org/church-impotent.htm

    A Professor (“Reader” in UK terms) of Evolutionary Psychiatry in England, Dr. Bruce G. Charlton has written a book on the fundamental nature of Political Correctness and its “march” through various institutions (media, academia, churches) called “Thought Prison”, available free online at:
    http://thoughtprison-pc.blogspot.com/

    More or less coincident with his conversion from atheism to theism, Dr. Charlton has studied Mormonism (though his conversion to theism was apart from Mormonism) and sees it in a favorable light.

    A recent comment he made on Junior Ganymede:

    What I find striking is how lame and outdated are the Mormon ‘Liberals’ (like OW).

    Exactly the same arguments and points were made in the Mainstream Christian churches – Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist etc – thirty, forty even fifty years ago.

    Many Liberal ‘reforms’ were adopted as a result of these Leftist pressure groups – so we know exactly what happens.

    For example, the Church of England introduced priestesses twenty years ago – and the consequences can be studied IF anybody is genuinely interested in them.

    But I believe that Mormon Liberals *have* studied the consequences of implementing the changes they advocate – so they know what would happen – and yet they still want the changes! – therefore they are shown to be malignly-motivated.

    Discussion with Mormon ‘radicals’ (i.e. 1970s style ‘progressives) should proceed on *that* basis – and not on the basis that their motivations are beneficent.

    For example – Mormon theologians advocating post-modern/ non-realist theologies are recapitulating the (three decades old) work of Don Cupitt in the Church of England – and therefore they can see exactly where they are heading: which is out of the church, and out of Christianity.

  2. I think it would be best to just say what you mean. Your scriptures say that it’s God above men, men above women. Period. If your intention is to keep following that, say so and say also that people can either abide it or leave.

    That would be more honest. Me? I left. I think may will.

  3. “What I find striking is how lame and outdated are the Mormon ‘Liberals’ (like OW).
    Exactly the same arguments and points were made in the Mainstream Christian churches – Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist etc – thirty, forty even fifty years ago.”

    Yes. Progressivism really has nothing new to offer. Its “tenets”, such as they are, if taken to their logical end, lead to moral nihilism. A good question to ask: must *all* fences be torn down?

  4. The real questions for OW are: “Do you believe The Church and The Priesthood is Christ’s and has been restored by Him to the earth? Do you believe He has called the current prophet and apostles to lead His church today?” If the answer is yes, the logical course would then be to work beside them, to support and to sustain them. It would be to put your shoulder to the wheel and push along. The duty of a woman imbued with such knowledge is clear to her.
    If the answer is no, the logical course is either to move on to where you see greener pasture, or to attempt to usurp what you see as power and authority and wealth as your own.
    There are women who have truly been abused, neglected, and mistreated. However, their wounds cannot be healed by receiving ordination to the priesthood.
    We live in a day when everyone feels they have a right to whatever they want. “I want” regardless of the consequences has truly become the sin of our day. We look not at how what we want will impact the whole of the universe, but at how we think it will make us feel better about ourselves, more important in the eyes of others, more valuable, more happy, more. We are all wanting something more. OW is simply wanting more. And demanding it from the messengers of The Lord isn’t going to get it for them, but it will make the church look to others as they are hoping to make it look. From the great and spacious building we hear their voices scoffing at the traditions of The Lord’s covenant people, making a mockery of things which should be sacred, and, when all else fails the age-old accusation will inevitable rear it’s ugly head. Since there is no reproach to be found, except with men, they will simply cry, “Liar!.”

  5. Ps. And I forgot the second and possibly most pertinent accusation. “You have taken what should have been rightfully ours.”

  6. Greg, it is the protestors who are trying to wrest the Scriptures to say something different from what they mean in order to force change on the Church and take over the role of leadership. I respect you and anyone else who “gets” what the Scriptures and the leadership of the Church are saying without making excuses and decides its not for them. If you read M* at all with an open mind of what is getting said, you would realize what you just said is exactly what we have been saying; only for the other side to be more honest with themselves about what they really believe or more importantly not believe.

  7. bookslinger… To address your issues.
    1) I respectfully disagree with your judgment of fellow members of the church.

    2) I do not think the church is as fragile as you suggest. I do not believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be like all other churches.

  8. I know, in my mind and my heart, that my Heavenly Father loves and values and cherishes me. I know, with all of my mind and heart, that He knows me and my desires better than I do—perfectly, in fact. I know that He has an eternal view, and I do not, and that He wants me to reach my full potential and will help me do so if I let Him. I know that He hears and answers my prayers. I know that He speaks to His prophets and our other church leaders. Because of this, when I have a concern or a problem, I slip quietly into my bedroom and speak directly to my loving Heavenly Father about it. He ALWAYS hears, and he ALWAYS answers.
    Because I speak to Heavenly Father, who already knows me perfectly but wants to hear from me anyway, and Heavenly Father speaks to President Monson, it makes sense to me that President Monson already knows the desires of my heart. He also knows my pains and sorrows and frustrations and feelings of inadequacy. This is often evident when he speaks to women at General Conference. Therefore, if I ever have the opportunity to meet President Monson in person in this life, the last thing I want to do is make demands of him or ask him if he’s been praying about me and for me. He isn’t mentioning me by name, but I know that he already is. If I get to meet President Monson, I want to give him a big bear hug and tell him how much I love him. Then, I want to take a step back, look into his eyes, and bask in his, and my Heavenly Father’s and my Savior’s, love for me. But, if that doesn’t happen, I still “feel my Savior’s love in all the world around me”, including a special reverence and respect that He has for women.
    A few years ago, I felt overwhelmed by my responsibilities as a mother of young children, member of an auxiliary presidency, and a wife helping provide for our family as an equal partner to my husband. I observed many of my friends juggling the same responsibilities and experiencing the same feelings of shame and unworthiness over a messy house and lack of time spent reading to children! I simply felt that the demands on women were unfair and unequal. I took my concern to my Heavenly Father in prayer. Even though I knew that I was being selfish in feeling sorry for myself, feelings are feelings, so I told Heavenly Father what they were (He already knew anyway!).
    As a side note, whenever I approach Heavenly Father with such an attitude, I always acknowledge that there’s a possibility that the answer is going to be along the lines of, “Forget yourself and get to work!” and I prepare myself to accept that answer if it comes.
    Our stake conference was coming up, so I specifically asked Heavenly Father to address my current concern. In fact, I specifically asked Him to remind the husbands to help with housework! Now, put yourself in my shoes, and just imagine the indescribable joy I felt when, in the Saturday night adult meeting, our stake president spoke to husbands about the importance of doing dishes! As he explained, it’s not really about the dirty dishes but about the love, respect, and help that wives and mothers need and thrive on.
    THIS time, my prayer was answered just the way I’d asked, but I believe that the answer to that prayer of mine could just have easily been the Spirit telling me, “Your husband is also overwhelmed by [insert demands here]. Hire so-and-so to help for a few weeks. Oh, and be sure to let your husband know that you appreciate what he does for you and the kids.” I try always to remember what the Bible Dictionary teaches about prayer: “As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings” (emphasis added).
    God speaks to prophets. God speaks to the stake president and the bishop. And, God speaks to me through His Spirit! I rejoice in all forms of revelation!
    Yes, I have been offended at church. Yes, at times I have felt frustrations with my role as a wife and mother. However, I have never felt that Heavenly Father was the source of these offenses or these unrealistic demands placed on me. In contrast, He is ONLY One who can heal the pain that accompanies those things. I love Him with all of my heart, and although I’m far from perfect (I have, in fact, unintentionally offended others at church!), I want to do everything I can to feel His love now (and I do!) and to live worthily of being in His presence forever. I know that we have a Heavenly Mother, and my heart longs to meet her. I’m also brimming with excitement to see what blessings Heavenly Father has in store for us women in the next life! Most importantly for now, though, I know that He loves me perfectly. My heart is at peace, and even though we’re all different and have different needs and desires, I pray that every woman who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can find peace in her own unique way.

  9. As a therapist I’m used to reading the subtitles of what’s said emotionally beneath the words.
    In Point 1 you called these women hypersensitive and selfish (vs patience with us because we men work so hard we don’t always say things sensitively, but if you’d just be more understanding….).
    In point 2 these women are impatient, just be patient and trust us like we asked the blacks to do – and lets pretend like there’s no power/corruption involved in this request ever (aren’t women excluded because this realm is too corrupt for them?)
    and 3) obviously no one is making the over-simplistic argument that you have to cave to all extremists or you’re not Christlike – my question is why do you need to frame it this polemically.
    Well done, you managed to be almost entirely patronizing and dismissive in a letter about not being patronizing and dismissive – in therapy I call that out – it’s a (here probably non-conscious) passive-aggressive move that invites its target to get really angry and so to look ‘emotional’, then you can sit back and look ever so ‘rational’ – but that’s ok because these women are listened to despite their experience because um, you said so, and so they feel safe despite their experience because you said so (not that I’m speaking for them – I’m talking about your approach here and how I think it functions). Now you may say, “no, but I said we have to listen to women, but not appease extremists” (and of course you get to say whose an extremist). But I think this isn’t listening to these and probably many other women. Orwellian where you say that women speaking of ordination prevents ordination (those pesky unpolitic women compared to the sages who are reactive vs. thoughtful?). I think not very Christlike, but very smug overall. What is your goal?

  10. As a therapist I’m used to reading the subtitles of what’s said emotionally beneath the words.
    In Point 1 you called these women hypersensitive and selfish (vs patience with us because we men work so hard we don’t always say things sensitively, but if you’ed just be more understanding….).
    In point 2 these women are impatient, just be patient and trust us like we asked the blacks to do – and lets pretend like there’s no power/corruption involved in this request ever (aren’t women excluded because this realm is too corrupt for them?)
    and 3) obviously no one is making the over-simplistic argument that you have to cave to all extremists or you’re not Christlike – my question is why do you need to frame it this polemically.
    Well done, you managed to be almost entirely patronizing and dismissive in a letter about not being patronizing and dismissive – in therapy I call that out – it’s a (here probably non-conscious) passive-aggressive move that invites its target to get really angry and so to look ‘emotional’, then you can sit back and look ever so ‘rational’ – but that’s ok because these women are listened to despite their experience because um, you said so, and so they feel safe despite their experience because you said so (not that I’m speaking for them – I’m talking about your approach here and how I think it functions). Now you may say, “no, but I said we have to listen to women, but not appease extremists” (and of course you get to say whose an extremist). But I think this isn’t listening to these and probably many other women. I think not very Christlike, but very smug. What is your goal?

  11. The bretheren are called to be special witnesses of Christ, but we neophyte and “layman-ite” members see their office too frequently as though it were a position on a church’s board of directors. While I understand that since they (mere mortal men) “seem” to oversee and ultimately determine the church’s operation and financial continuation, it’s hard not to view their call as one of a CEO… (chief ecclesiastical officer).

    I’ve had beef in the past processing that rather seeing the prophets themselves search, ponder and pray over the validity and truthfulness of the apocryphal scriptural discoverings, the bretheren use the word of and or outsource the task to BYU to research, compare and contrast the evidences. Determining as were their response “uhh… Some meat on the bones but doesn’t change the story.” While these learned university archeological scholars are very capable, it’s left to them the less spiritually channelled to be the once to process the records of the Dead Sea scrolls, gospels of Judas and Mary Magdalene etc but in my mind I really couldn’t see Joseph Smith being as tactfully careful and PC conscious as to attempt to avoid the very appearance of stepping on anyone’s toes. I get that times now are totally different, the prophet Joseph didn’t preside over 15 million members, yet he faced the public and critic with a unabashed gusto coupled with matter of fact speach that has left much to be desired.

    As another has previously mentioned, president Kimball prayed repeatedly on the matter of the priesthood and members of selected hues of skin color with the results unfolding in stages, (I’ll start with leaving out those of color, okay now just have the non-blacks, and now all worthy members irrespective of ethnicity). While I personally don’t see the need for the church to begin to ordain women, I feel that women need to be treated as equals, respected and regarded for their service, input on large and small scales and their motoring of the church’s efforts on local, regional and global scales. Based on recent conference addresses on the topic of either women in the church or the men and priesthood I feel the GA’s efforts are much more to the empathetic, constructive and building side of the spectrum. The brethern can ask for or even mandate kinder words and respectful actions to God’s daughters, the apostles aren’t readily accessible in every branch, ward or stake… So their requests and policies still can fall on deaf ears and hardend hearts like those leaders who haven’t been what The Lord has needed of them that have created some of the mess.

    Yet to argue and assume the God is eternally unchanging is reprehensible, one only needs to read Jacob 2 and D&C 132 to question whether The Lord’s opinion on David and Solomon’s wives concubines was acceptable or abominable. Consider this, Jacob quoted The Lord between 544-421 bc and polygyny revelation given to Joseph Smith quotes The Lord on this matter as early as in 1831, and given that one of God’s days is a thousand of man’s years that would mean that God altered his view of David and Solomon in what was less than 3 days for Him. With these passages displaying differing representations of the Lord’s feelings on David and Solomon’s wives and concubines, considering the beginnings and endings of the latter-day practicing of polygyny, the early practicing and later abolishing of the occult and then to those of darker shades of ethnic diversity and their century plus of exclusion of priesthood and it’s associated leadership positions, and ultimately these members’ sidelined exaltation (on the basis that temple ordinances are required for eligibility for exaltation) etc. to argue that God can’t change refutes more than it can upholds.

    “Whether by my own voice or the voice of my servant or the voice of my servant’s PR department, it is the same.”

  12. I don’t believe that it requires huge leaps of imagination to reconcile these disparate concepts:

    Mormon 9:9
    9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?
    James 1:17
    17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

    Jacob 2:27
    27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;

    D&C 132:61
    61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

    So what’s the common denominator? Contemporary, current revelation. It’s really that simple. Either we have it, or we don’t. But that is how to reconcile matters.

  13. Sir Michael Towns (you ought to be knighted, rather regal sounding)

    The verses you quote weren’t the verses in Jacob 2 and D&C 132 that address David and Solomon and why The Lord’s could possibly differ in His opinions on what was or was not considered abominable. Both passages use first person narrative of The Lord speaking, whether these verses were of God or of man either way there are definite holes.

  14. “Both passages use first person narrative of The Lord speaking, whether these verses were of God or of man either way there are definite holes.”

    Definite holes in ….. what exactly?

    And yes, I am of regal bearing.

  15. Mark Short in duplicate comments on 6/1 8:29 and 6/1 8:40 called out folks for “being almost entirely patronizing and dismissive in a letter about not being patronizing and dismissive.”

    Not sure if that was directed at the original letter from Brother Otterson or someone making comments in the comment thread.

  16. I resent the insinuation that I was not entirely patronizing and dismissive. I reject it in the strongest possible terms.

  17. Hi Ms Stout, I was referring to the original letter, thanks for the clarification.

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