Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.
“If Joseph Smith were to walk into a conference of the (LDS) Church today he would find himself completely at home; and if he were to address the congregation they would never for a moment detect anything the least bit strange, unfamiliar, or old-fashioned.” — Hugh Nibley, writing in 1946 in the essay “No Ma’am, That’s Not History.”
if we are to imagine Joseph Smith talking at General Conference, what would he say? Would he feel comfortable with the words of modern-day prophets?
With the exception of mid-19th century figures of speech that we would not recognize, Joseph Smith’s doctrine would be exactly what modern-day prophets teach today. He would recognize that the tweaks in the doctrine — ending plural marriage, for example — would be necessary for our modern times. Re-read some of Joseph Smith’s talks to see what I mean.
This is unique. I can think of very few religious institutions that are two centuries old that have such historical consistency. This is worth pondering for faithful Latter-day Saints. When the Savior comes again, would he feel comfortable at a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint General Conference? Based on what I know if Him and what I have read of His actions and words, I would have to say yes.
I was going to post something on the Church’s statement on the Respect for Marriage Act, and then I saw that Public Square had already written what I was going to write, and done it much better than what I would have written, so why produce an inferior product?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released this week an “Official Statement on the United States Congress Respect for Marriage Act,” which (1) affirmed its teaching on marriage and the family, (2) expressed gratitude that religious liberty was being protected in new federal legislation on same-sex marriage, and (3) affirmed that such balanced cooperation over otherwise strongly contested rights was “the way forward” on these kinds of difficult matters.
The statement ended, “As we work together to preserve the principles and practices of religious freedom together with the rights of LGBTQ individuals, much can be accomplished to heal relationships and foster greater understanding.”
To read the actual statement, you might come away thinking the Church was wanting to affirm its commitment to its classic teachings on the family, hail a willingness among bipartisan legislators to protect religious liberty, and raise its voice on behalf of peaceful cooperation between differences.
But a very different message emerged in reporting and public commentary on the four-sentence statement.
“A historic shift is underway!”Rather than highlighting the Church’s public affirmation of its long-standing efforts to defend covenant marriage—by, in this case, protecting religious freedom alongside LGBT+ legislation—headline articles all across the nation proclaimed that the Church “voices support for same-sex marriage law.”
Bryan Pietsch writing for the Washington Post, called the church statement “a marked shift from decades of attacks on LGBTQ rights” and “perhaps the clearest declaration of support yet on same-sex marriage from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Helaman 5:2 For as their laws and their governments were established by the avoice of the people, and they who bchose evil were cmore numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were dripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.
3 Yea, and this was not all; they were a astiffnecked people, insomuch that they could not be governed by the law nor justice, save it were to their destruction.
It’s pretty clear that one of the biggest dynamics of the 2022 midterm election was that voters see killing babies as one of their most important priorities. Moloch is pleased.
Americans voted Tuesday on abortion-related ballot initiatives in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, and Vermont, and as of 5:30AM CST Wednesday morning, abortion allies have maintained the lead in all five vote totals.
A proposed amendment to the Vermont Constitution expressly guaranteeing “an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy,” including abortion, was the first to be decided, with 77.4% voting in favor, making Vermont the first state to formally enshrine abortion “rights” in its constitution.
As of the time of this writing, a California initiative to add a “fundamental right to choose to have an abortion” to its state constitution had 65% of the vote in its favor with 41 percent of the votes counted. The amendment’s success was a foregone conclusion given California’s status as the most liberal state in the Union.
Michigan’s so-called Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative seeks to establish a state constitutional “right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.” As this update is being published, 55.6% of Michiganders voted to approve it. The Associated Press called this vote with 84% of the vote counted.
While the above results are disappointing to pro-lifers, two all come from more left-wing states while the third in Michigan comes in a battleground state that saw Democrats win statewide by significant margins. Heavy Democratic turnout likely helped propel the abortion measure in Michigan. The remaining two referendums, however, may be cause for greater concern.
Kentucky’s proposed amendment clarifying that its constitution does not “secure or protect a right to abortion, or require the funding of abortion,” meant to stop abortion allies from blocking pro-life laws in court, is currently behind with 52.6% voting against it.
Lastly, Montana posed to voters not a constitutional amendment but a proposed state law to recognize the personhood of preborn babies who survive abortions and guarantee they be cared for. At the time of this writing, 52.6% of voters oppose it.
These percentages are potentially subject to change once the remainder of the states’ votes are counted. But if they hold, they suggest a serious challenge for pro-life reformers moving forward.
By restoring states’ ability to fully decide abortion policy, the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade in June unleashed a new status quo and rampant speculation about how voters will react to it. Tuesday’s defeats follow a proposed amendment to clarify that the Kansas Constitution does not protect abortion failing at the ballot in August. At the time, pro-lifers attributed the loss in large part to pervasive misinformation about pro-life laws’ impact of women facing medical emergencies.
Those of us who go to church know that most active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are generally good people who spend a lot of their free time with their families or doing service, either at the temple or in their callings.
President Gordon B. Hinckley famously said that the primary symbol of our faith is not the cross, like other Christian denominations, but instead “the lives of our people,” meaning that President Hinckley was betting that most Church members lead exemplary lives. And in fact I can report, and I am sure all readers can report, that you often hear from non-members that church members “sure are nice,” even if they don’t accept the doctrines of our faith.
It also happens to be true that the vast majority of Church members are conservative, at least socially. Most Church members are against elective abortion and are traditionalists on the issue of same-sex attraction and gender issues. Utah and Idaho, the most LDS states, are heavily Republican.
This creates a dilemma for Progressive Mormons (many of them call themselves ProgMos). How can it be that Church members are 1)nice people and 2)not social justice warriors like they are?
I have lived this reality for 20 years in the LDS on-line world, and one of the things I have discovered is that there is a huge amount of cognitive dissonance among ProgMos. It just can’t be true that your average member, the man or woman in your ward with the four kids and the job and the difficult calling and the monthly temple visits — it just can’t be that these are good people. So, what ProgMos do, and I have seen literally hundreds of examples over the years, is make up stories showing how these members are really racists or sexists or transphobes or whatever the latest really, really bad thing is.
Let me give you a recent example. Check out this tweet today:
NOTE: READ THE COMMENTS OF THIS POST FOR SOME CONTEXT AND SOME CORRECTIONS.
I am a follower of the Prince of Peace, and I believe in forgiving those who made mistakes, but the first step is an apology. I am happy to report that I have received some private apologies in the last few weeks. But a lot more needs to be done. When the Republicans retake the House, and almost certainly the Senate, they need to investigate — in detail — how and why public health officials pushed a false narrative from March 2020 until recently. And a lot of my fellow Latter-day Saints need to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves why they acted like tyrannical lunatics over a virus with a 99.7 percent survival rate.
Just a reminder of what you did: you prevented people from hugging each other for no reason:
You supported the police beating up innocent people who objected to the mandates.