Great new web site about the Family: A Proclamation to the World

This web site is really quite well done. It is dedicated to the Church’s Proclamation on the family.

Did you know that Pres. Hinckley said this before introducing the Proclamation on Sept. 23, 1995?

With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn. In furtherance of this, we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this Church have repeatedly stated throughout its history (Hinckley, 1995).

This statement helps me understand the importance of the Proclamation and why it is so crucial to our times, when sophistry, deception and the stains of the world appear to be increasing every month.

The new web site breaks down the Proclamation paragraph by paragraph, and line by line, with every sentence annotated with hundreds of ancient and modern scriptures, social science research and stories that support the principles of the Proclamation.     The web site also includes: 

  • “Relatable” articles.        
  • The “Raising Family” podcast.      
  • “Ask the Y” street team interviews.       
  • A free scripture insert.     
  • History, lesson ideas and study aids.    
  • “People of the Proclamation” featuring original stories of people who live and love the principles of the proclamation.

Check out the new web site at thefamilyproclamation.org

Peer-reviewed study questions effectiveness of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders

This study by Stanford researchers questions the effectiveness of locks and stay-at-home orders in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The researchers write:

“In summary, we fail to find strong evidence supporting a role for more restrictive NPIs (lockdowns) in the control of COVID in early 2020. We do not question the role of all public health interventions, or of coordinated communications about the epidemic, but we fail to find an additional benefit of stay-at-home orders and business closures. The data cannot fully exclude the possibility of some benefits. However, even if they exist, these benefits may not match the numerous harms of these aggressive measures. More targeted public health interventions that more effectively reduce transmissions may be important for future epidemic control without the harms of highly restrictive measures.”

The study was co-authored by Dr. Eran Bendavid, Professor John P.A. Ioannidis, Christopher Oh, and Jay Bhattacharya. The lead author, Dr. Bendavid, is an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at Stanford. The other authors collectively work in departments including the Department of Epidemiology and the Department of Biomedical Data Science.

The group studied the effects of lockdowns in 10 countries: England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the United States, which had more restrictive measures, were compared to Sweden and South Korea, where measures were less restrictive. After they accounted for the less restrictive lockdowns in South Korea and Sweden, they found “no clear, significant beneficial effect of more restrictive (lockdowns) on case growth in any country.”

As I wrote in this post:

All Latter-day Saints should speak out against the deadly and authoritarian lockdowns that have been instituted by out of control governments around the world. Not only have these lockdowns affected religious and others freedoms, but they are causing millions of unnecessary deaths, destroying the economy worldwide, bankrupting businesses and causing an increase in suicide, depression, anxiety and a myriad of other health disorders.

Lockdowns should be voluntary. People who feel they are at risk should stay home. Mask wearing… should also be voluntary. Governments that impose lockdowns and mask mandates are acting in an authoritarian manner. The purpose of this post is to increase pressure on society to end mandatory lockdowns and mask mandates so that healthy people can return to normal lives. Note that some protections should be taken for the most vulnerable in society (the elderly and others at risk), but these protections should follow the actual science, not the voodoo that is spouted by most people in the media today.

I would like to remind readers that in times of panic and fear, governments almost always respond by restricting freedom. During World War I, people of German descent were harassed and arrested. During World War II, 120,000 Japanese-Americans were sent to American detention camps because of fear and hysteria. The Supreme Court even upheld this clearly unconstitutional act. (I am happy to say that the Supreme Court recently apologized for this decision). We are living through a similar time now, when people allow their terror to justify government attempts to control other innocent people.

I would like to add that the Church has called for members to voluntarily wear masks as a gesture of kindness to others but has not come out in favor of government-mandated mask wearing. Please follow the Church’s guidance on this issue.

Is LDS theology responsible for LGBT Suicides? No.

It probably is time to re-introduce this article from May 2020 that points out the following:

“The claim sometimes made that there is an established massive suicide phenomenon among LGBT+ Latter-day Saints directly attributable to Latter-day Saint theology—or policies—is not supported by current data and scholarly research.”

As this article points out, it is a widespread myth that LDS theology is responsible for LGBT suicides. I keep on seeing people make the claim without any real evidence. But as the article points out:

Again, as mental health experts in partnership with GLAAD observe: “The underlying causes of most suicide deaths are complex and not always immediately obvious. Making hasty assumptions about those causes, even when based on comments from family or friends or media reports, can result in statements that are later proven to be inaccurate.” 

It’s difficult to rigorously test claims regarding suicide causality to peer-reviewed standards. But people may be surprised how little evidence there is for related side-claims such as, in the words of one celebrity, Utah has experienced a surge in suicide “because of the shame (LGBT+ teenagers) feel from the Mormon Church.” 

Lamentably, these beliefs have sometimes taken on a life of their own, regardless. 

I have spoken to sophisticated, intelligent colleagues in the social sciences who take the theology-suicide correlation as a fact, even when confronted with conflicting information—including objective, official numbers that do not provide any evidence for the claim. 

Such a narrative is extremely dangerous because it begins to normalize the idea that people with same-sex attraction should be inclined toward suicide:

This would normally be benign—people can believe what they want to believe—but the fact is that those pushing a narrative of mass suicidality among LGBT+ youth are themselves risking suicide contagion in order to win rhetorical points (this point, meant for the population in general, has actually been made by Rick Savin-Williams, the father of gay youth health research). Belief in LGBT+ Mormon suicide pandemic in the absence of good social science evidence may actually contribute to the troubling phenomenon of heightened suicidality among the LGBT+ population by normalizing suicide rather than resiliency, hope, and life. 

Is the Church and its practices and theology responsible, or is it the belief in the narrative itself? If you keep pushing the idea that all gay Latter-day Saints are depressed and suicidal, then those who are most vulnerable to that narrative may start to believe you. If you are contributing to the narrative that the only orthodox Latter-day Saint LGBT+ is a dead one, then you may in fact be hurting Latter-day Saint LGBT+ youth. 

So, please stop with the unscientific and false claims of proven links between LDS orthodoxy and LGBT suicide. It is not true.

Note: I have written about this before, once in 2016 and once in 2019. It seems like some clearly false claims simply won’t die.

Jan 2021 versus Jun 1844

I remember a day when I realized how much confusion could have been avoided had Joseph Smith lived longer. I pulled the covers over my head and wept great wracking sobs.

When the news started rolling out about the attack on the U.S. Capitol, it was obvious to me that there were parallels between the mob of January 2021 in Washington, DC, and the mob of June 1844 in Carthage, IL.

  • The 1844 press had agitated for overthrow of a legitimately elected rule, with the Expositor laying the groundwork for suspicion and the Warsaw Signal actively calling for violence, “War and extermination is inevitable! Citizens ARISE ONE and ALL!!!-Can you stand by, and suffer such INFERNAL DEVILS! to ROB men of their property and RIGHTS, without avenging them. We have no time for comment, every man will make his own. LET IT BE MADE WITH POWDER AND BALL!!!” 1
  • The Carthage Greys were posted to protect Joseph Smith, but they were instructed to avoid loading their guns and rifles.
  • The individuals attacking gathered a distance from Carthage and whipped themselves into a “righteous” anger before attacking, based on reports under oath by those who were at that gathering.
  • Many individuals attacking had painted their faces (though it doesn’t seem the folks who attacked on Jan 2021 intended to hide their identities).
  • Some of those attacking were harmed during the attack.

Luckily, no elected officials were shot on 6 January 2021. In this, the attack of June 1844 achieved a higher degree of lethality, at least on the part of the intended victims.

I hadn’t bothered posting anything about this earlier because it seemed to me a comparison that didn’t need to be pointed out. However someone I care about, who is active on social media, indicated that they had not seen any comments comparing Jan 2021 to Jun 1844.

So with this, I consider that lack of comment on the obvious to be rectified.

Notes:

  1. Thomas Sharp, Editorial, Warsaw Signal, June 11, 1844, at http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/IL/sign1844.htm#0611 on 11 Jan 2021.

Come Follow Me: D&C 2; JSH 1:27-65

My blog post on: Come Follow Me: D&C 2; JSH 1:27-65


Excerpt:In this lesson, we learn more of the early history of the Church and Joseph Smith. It had been three years since the First Vision. Joseph spend the time using a seer stone.  He found the stone at the bottom of a well, after looking into someone else’s stone, which only allowed him the ability to find his own stone.


This was a time when society was beginning to move from magical items to know God (such as seer stones and divining rods) to the era of Science and Reason. Over time, Joseph would learn to straddle the line between a vertical relationship with God (revelation) and a horizontal one (using reason). It was during this time that he worked for Josiah Stowe, looking for hidden treasure, and encountering his beloved Emma Hale.


His worldly life led him again to question his standing before God.


https://joelsmonastery.blogspot.com/2021/01/come-follow-me-d-2-jsh-127-65.html