Many moons ago, there was a certain person that started a certain movement that included something about using civil rights tactics to make changes within the LDS church. At that time I questioned this person, on behalf of a woman thinking of joining this movement, about her [the founder’s] beliefs… and started a firestorm. But I promised to revisit the issue later. I never did.
I started to, but then gave up on it for lack of time. Time passed, the movement largely died out and lost media attention. People got sick of talking about it, and that was that. But I still had this long post that took an interview (that I had in fact, at least in part, caused to take place via my questions) on FMHW and asked questions and drew conclusions based on her own words.
And just being me, I couldn’t resist throwing in a bit of irony:
On the day that Mormons believe John the Baptist restored the priesthood to the earth, [this movement] launched their 6 discussions to promote their cause. Ironically, the question [the founder] would not answer was if she believed that John the Baptist, as a resurrected angel, restored the priesthood to the earth because it was no longer found on the earth.
Truth be told, this person actually impresses me throughout the interview in many ways. She shows a stronger understanding about many issues than I would have thought. I mean that in the best possible way. I’m not saying I thought she was stupid and in fact she’s smart. I’m saying that she displays a level of self-awareness, at times, rare in human beings. This is precisely why I valued the interview so much as a jumping off point for further dialogue and discussion.
For example, consider the interviewer’s “question” here, which was actually my question to her, but disguised so that she won’t have to answer the question.
Interviewer: Well, a lot of the questions – a lot of them – ask about your worthiness and your righteousness and if you have a temple recommend; questions which I think is nobody’s business, but I guess some people find it relevant. I think you’ve answered that. That you are faithful, believing, active.
Okay, we all know this is yet another “Bloggernacle Tactic.” Essentially this tactic is to treat all questions about beliefs or commitment to fundamental and defining doctrines — even wholly relevant ones to the subject at hand as is the case here — as offensive questions about personal worthiness or righteousness instead.
In this way, the question is never actually asked and need never be answered. The interviewer even prompts the interviewee with the “right answer.”
But this isn’t even the most concerning part. The interviewer prompts the interviewee with certain specific keywords (faithful and believing) that are known to be understood drastically differently between liberal Mormons and “TBMs” communities.
In short, it was a microcosm of the very problem that can only be solved by sincerely asking about someone else’s beliefs and to expect a sincere answer that isn’t misleading.
But wait! Here is, in part, how the movement leader responded:
…in some ways I think it’s a legitimate question because that what I’ve said when I’ve presented myself as an active, faithful, believing Mormon.
Surprised? I was. (Though she never does go on to answer my actual question, unfortunately.)
There were quite a number gems in this interview that drive to the heart of the “TBM” vs “Liberal” question that the Bloggernacle is forever trying to resolve. And between the three women involved (two interviewers from FMHW and the movement founder) they give a pretty good idea of what they value in the LDS Church and what their vision for the Church’s future is.
One of the main things I had in my original post was what I see as the crux of the disagreement between the two sides and why a civil rights-style movement can only end in disaster. (This was long before it did end in disaster.)
I am wondering if it is possible for me to somehow still benefit from some of the thoughts raised in her interview. There are so many gems that she, the interviewers, and me (in response) raised throughout my post. Alas, I fear people are just so sick of this topic that there may no longer be a point. Perhaps I can find a way to adapt some of the material to other posts that aren’t focused on the original movement and the original question.