Book Review: ‘Proclaim Peace’

Review by Meg Stout

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aren’t famous for avoiding conflict. Anyone reading up through page 10 of the Book of Mormon reads about how Nephi decapitates Laban. I myself work for the Department of Defense (formerly referred to as the Department of War). My Bishop in my teens was a four-star general.

But Bishop Amos Jordan wished a life of diplomacy for me. He yearned for my talents to go toward creating peace in this world.

So I was intrigued to read Proclaim Peace: The Restoration’s Answer to an Age of Conflict. Authors Patrick Q. Mason and J. David Pulsipher demonstrate “that pursuing peace is godly, foundational, muscular, and not for the faint of heart.”

This book arose out of the authors’ participation in a March 2011 conference on Latter-day Saint perspectives on war and peace, held at Claremont Graduate University. In the ten years since that conference at Claremont, the authors have assembled a delightful demonstration that the gospel of the Restoration and scriptural canon revered by Latter-day Saints provide rich bases for living a just peace that goes well beyond the mere absence of conflict.

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Gay man speaks out in support of Elder Holland’s BYU talk

This is a guest post by Nicholas Applegate.

I am a gay man married to a wonderful wife, and I openly support The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its doctrines, and its leaders. As a result, I support the BYU honor code and their decision to require their students to keep the law of chastity (see link at bottom). This is because I have a testimony that this church is truly Christ’s church and that its leaders are called of God and divinely inspired.

However, at the core of myself, I am not a gay man; I am a child of God, a priesthood holder, a husband, and a father. I am not denying my true self by living the tenets of the Church. I would be denying my true self by not living the Gospel and leaving the Church to life a gay lifestyle.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a man we believe to be an apostle of God, spoke to BYU faculty a couple days ago (see link at bottom) reaffirming our beliefs in the sacred nature of marriage between a man and a woman, the right of BYU as a private, church school to support and institute doctrinal policies, and the need of disciples of Christ to defend and support our church leaders and the doctrine we believe in. I have seen lots of posts and messages opposing Elder Holland’s remarks, and while I respect their right to share their thoughts and while I also have some reservations about Elder Holland’s choice of words, I believe that he is a divinely inspired apostle of Jesus Christ and that his message is true. He asked for more to defend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to be a voice in its support, so I have decided to do just that. Being a gay man in a mixed-orientation marriage, I think I am in a unique position to share my thoughts on the matter.

I have known from a young age that I was attracted to men. It was an emotional roller-coaster, something I mentioned to almost no one before I became an adult, and which still was told to very few individuals after. It made me feel different, gross, and mostly embarrassed, and it was hard for me to talk about. It took years for me to process this and accept myself for who I was. However, unlike many that I have heard about in my situation, I had little doubt about my future standing in the Church.

The Church has always been clear, in my lifetime anyway, that it is not attraction to men that is sinful, but acting on those desires. I always understood that if I chose to either live a celibate or a heterosexual life, my standing within the Church would never be in question. I decided essentially as soon as I realized I was gay that I would follow the law of chastity and not engage in a relationship with a man.

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So you want to speak at a public board meeting

This is a guest post by Lattertarian, who describes himself as “a jaded Gen-X Ward Mission Leader living in Southern California. He’s a compulsive communicator who loves chili cheese fries, prefers vegetables on his pizza, and wishes we could all just get along.”

As your local town or state crawls out from under lockdown hysteria, you may feel the need to talk to your local government officials. Good for you! Too few people do this, but it’s a critical part of the local government process. You’re never going to get any uninterrupted time to speak straight to your federal representatives, and probably never your state ones, either. But your county and city boards and commissions are wide open (and let’s face it, the future is local). So good on you for wanting to get in there and speak your mind. 

You’re probably fired up about whatever your topic is, and that’s good. You’re probably also a little nervous about public speaking. Most folks are, and that’s okay. Here are some tips for making your point and keeping your cool. 

First, remember that the usual rules of first impressions apply. You don’t need to show up to a board meeting in your Sunday best, but come on: put on a clean shirt and groom yourself. Don’t let your appearance be a distraction from your point. 

Second, read the rules and know the agenda. Whatever board you’re talking to has rules about public comment, and is legally obligated to post both those rules and every meeting agenda ahead of time. Read both. There are three things you should be watching for: agenda items, public comment, and time limits. We’ll get to time in a bit. For now let’s talk about agendas and comments. 

When you speak to a government board in person (which is to say, physically in the same room), you’ll probably have to fill out a card. That card will ask if you want to comment on a specific agenda item, or if you just want to be lumped in with “public comment.” Read the agenda. If your subject is on there, be sure to note that agenda number (or letter, or whatever) on your comment card. The board will call on you to speak when that item comes up in the agenda. If you just want to vent at the board and/or your topic isn’t on the agenda, then mark your card for public comment. 

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The Problems with Progressives in the Church

This is a guest post by Hanna Seariac, who recently graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Classical Studies. She is a MA student at BYU in Comparative Studies and seeks to become a religious author and an apologist for the Church. 

Ex-Mormons often get much wrong about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but something they get right is that the progressive movement in the Church does not reflect the teachings and doctrines of the Church. Progressive Mormonism, not to be confused with members of the Church who happen to identify as liberal or progressive politically, represents a small section of the Church who often do not uphold the doctrinal sexual ethics that exist.

These Progressive Mormons often attack and denounce The Family: A Proclamation to the World, but ignore that it qualifies as doctrine. Proclamations exist to reaffirm doctrine and act as documents to regulate the Church. Not upholding these documents is in direct conflict with the temple recommend interview questions, which ask us if we sustain the leaders of the Church as well as the doctrine that the Church teaches.

Clearly, a document signed by the free will and choice of every member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and First Presidency (including Elder Holland and Elder Uchtdorf) represents doctrine not just because the Church simply states that it does on their website, but it is the unanimous voice of the Lord’s Church.

While the Church can potentially err on policy, asserting that the Church errs on doctrine (i.e. eternal truths) is antithetical to its nature and structure.

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Guest Post: Why I still don’t wave the rainbow flag

By: Latter-Day Publius

If the LGBT movement has done one thing right, it has alerted much of America to the difficulty minority groups experience. One good example of this is Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s recent explanation of his own journey to being out as a gay man. As one of the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President M. Russell Ballard, said:

We need to listen to and understand what our LGBT brothers and sisters are feeling and experiencing. Certainly we must do better than we have done in the past so that all members feel they have a spiritual home where their brothers and sisters love them and where they have a place to worship and serve the Lord.

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