Integrity and Respect versus Sparking Joy

GreenertToday I came across a TEDx talk by ADM Greenert, who is Chief of Naval Operations.

I know something about the Navy, but as I listened to ADM Greenert’s remarks about integrity and accountability, I thought about the individuals who lead our congregations at the ward and stake level.

I thought about a Joseph Smith who took responsibility for the sins of his people, that we all might be saved with our families. And I thought about Eliza Snow and Brigham Young, two of those who had at one time had been deceived by those promulgating spiritual wifery (aka illicit intercourse). 1

I also thought of William Smith, forgiven and counseled innumerable times, who ultimately chose to boldly embrace error rather than submit to the “bondage” of Christ’s leadership.

By contrast, a few days ago the sidebar had a link saying:

Kate and John don’t want you to be miserable anymore

I assumed this piece must be a parody, it was so over-the-top and offensive. But as I have seen others comment as though this is real, perhaps I was wrong to presume that Kate and John had more decency and self respect than to pen such a piece.

Here is an excerpt, speaking of those who are not fleeing Mormonism:

“Because it really is your choice. A weird choice, to be sure. To be frank, literally impossible to comprehend that you would choose–actually choose–bondage and darkness and humiliation when you could be an actual person, breathing the euphoric air of freedom and jubilation and glee and ecstasy and euphoria and rapture.

“But seriously, you should get help. What is wrong with you that you would want that? If you weren’t religious, we could only guess that something traumatic happened to you as a child. You must be mentally ill. Yes, that’s it. What else could explain this literally insane decision to freely participate in the LDS Church? Actually, one of us (John–Hi!) has a PhD and has done some research in this area and we can tell you that being religious is basically a mental illness.”

So is the Sparks of Joy thing a parody, or are John and Kate really so out of touch with reality that they would pen such a piece?

Notes:

  1. Eliza’s November 1842 poems describe innocence being betrayed by a foul deceiver. “BY” is implicated as having accepted the teachings regarding transgression in William Clayton’s journal, though there is confusion about whether or not BY actually transgressed or not.
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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but may have privately defied the commandment for love of his wife, Emma.

18 thoughts on “Integrity and Respect versus Sparking Joy

  1. Kate and John have such big egos I can’t see them working together–even on something like this.

    It’s parody–and a good one at that.

  2. They really are out of touch with the gospel and the GAs.

    God does not promise the type of peace they seek. His is not of this world. We are to carry the burden of the cross, with hope for a better world as our anchor.

  3. Their much publicized march on the Church Headquarters with dissidents who intended to submit their resignation letters from the Church on July 23, was the real farce. Less than ninety people joined them, and Kate had come all the way back from Kenya to preside. I think the Kate and John website is genuine, while I also think it is farcical.
    Meanwhile several statistical studies confirm the idea that membership in the Church has positive effects. While in most of the U.S. amount of charitable giving as a percentage of income is inverse, (the poor give more) Utah County which contains the densest urban concentration of Mormons, is both wealthy and very charitable. Another study reveals that Utah County has few abortions. While this may seem insane to some, it makes me happy.

  4. I see that the Sparking Joy business is from a Op Ed Kate write in the Salt Lake Tribune on 17 July, where she recants her supposed original posture of urging people to remain within the Church and work to effect change from within.

    So in her call for these disaffected to now own their pain and leave en mass, she managed to get a minor handful.

    I hope Kate and John return to God.

    At such time as they do, I can imagine their experience mirroring that of Alma, who wrote:

    [After] repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God.

    My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more.

    I rejected my Redeemer, and denied that which had been spoken of by our fathers; but now that they may foresee that he will come, and that he remembereth every creature of his creating, he will make himself manifest unto all.

    Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God; then shall they confess, who live without God in the world, that the judgment of an everlasting punishment is just upon them; and they shall quake, and tremble, and shrink beneath the glance of his all-searching eye.

  5. Sadly the latter seems to be true of these two, although that link is a parody. They might feel great now, but there will be a day of accountability. I’m sure Esau was happy after eating the pottage, but when he realized what he had done he was bitterly angry and sad.

  6. To be clear, it is a parody, but it reflects the reality of the things they write and say in private settings. They have nothing for contempt for the Church and what it stands for, although they often try to adopt a public position of pretending to support people who remain in the Church but “struggle.” Kate Kelly was a leader of an event over the weekend where she celebrated people leaving the Church (although the actual new people leaving the Church was likely no more than a handful — most of the people at the event were long-time anti-Mormons and left long ago).

    The key point, it seems to me, is that Kate and John see the Church as nothing more than a secular organization that can and should be influenced to adopt positions that agree with their politics. They truly do not understand that it is led by the Savior. Until they regain their testimony that the Savior is the leader of the Church they will continue to have contempt for the organization itself.

  7. And yet I will continue to love them and hope for their return, as well as continue to love and hope for those who have left the Church based on the “leadership” of John and Kate.

    Tonight my husband and I had a chance to visit with a friend and colleague from our congregation who will die shortly (kidney failure). We sang him the song he requested at his funeral (Going Home, written a pupil of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, who then set the words to Dvorak’s New World Symphony). It was a blessed hour as we spoke of our mutual faith in God, and told each other of the various blessings and miracles we had experienced.

    That is not mere sparks of joy, but a bonfire of peace and love and hope.

  8. The Kate and John piece: I just do not have time for people who use their personal negative experiences to proselytize others to follow them, be it in a religious, political or any other arena. Too much negativity, too much condemnation. There’s also an element of “I was fooled but now I know I was deceived so you turn your life around to follow what I’m doing.” People are perfectly able to find their own truth and live peaceful lives.

    The piece by Adm Greenert: glad to see such given wide dissemination. Many see military as a calling, not as a job. That carries with it values that are not treated as a bedrock by many in corporate life. It’s a needed perspective that people can incorporate into their lives, regardless of what they do for a living (or in other aspects).

    Thanks for that.

  9. This is the article Kate Kelly actually recently wrote (http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/2738628-155/kate-kelly-if-staying-in-lds July 17th) that most likely was at least a partial catalyst for the parody. I find it sad that Kate Kelly has gotten as far out of touch with the principles of the Gospel as this piece suggests. However, that is no excuse for a church member to bear false witness by writing that parody.

  10. Being religious means mental illness? I seem to recall someone claiming such doctrine before…say about 2100 years ago. “Ye look forward and say that ye see a remission of your sins. But behold, it is the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead you away into a belief of things which are not so.” Alma 30:16. Maybe Korihor was just ahead of his time.

  11. Meg:

    Of course it’s parody and to those who are offended by it, please take the time to reflect on what your missionaries are doing. Your founder thought a stone helped him dictate your book and your missionaries go around the world shoving it down everyone’s throat. So, please …. Enough already with being offended by Kate and John. Your religion is silly and should be parodied and until your church tones down the self righteous b.s. of being the one true church, expect more.

  12. Wow, question, talk about self-righteous. You come on an LDS blog to call our religion “silly?” Project much?

  13. Hi Question,

    Are you the author of the parody? I would have thought the parody was executed by someone firmly within the LDS tradition, as the parody portrays Kate and John in a particularly negative light. You don’t appear to fit that profile.

    The only person shoving something into a bodily orifice is that character in the Book of Mormon musical, at least according to the summary of the musical on Wikipedia.

    It is a free country, and you are entitled to your opinion. I don’t like to put comments on moderation, but there are others who “own” this website, and I suspect we’ll find both your comment and my response deleted at some future time.

  14. Meg, sometimes I like to leave comments like these up so readers can see the “quality” of the critics.

  15. Works for me.

    Regarding the seer stone, it was fun reading the article that will be in the October 2015 Ensign regarding the evolution of the use of such objects, and the fact that Joseph evolved away from dependence on such objects (explaining why later prophets did not use the stones, even though stones other than the actual Urim and Thummim remained in the custody of Church leaders).

    I myself have experienced revelatory experiences, and these are common in the experience of other practicing Mormons. By way of example, the other weekend I fed our local missionaries. That day they’d been asked to voice a blessing on the head of an extremely ill individual. The individual wished to be blessed to be healed, that they might remain in life to care for their family. But when the missionary gave voice to the blessing, they were clearly inspired that healing was not an option, and the words spoken provided blessings consistent with this individual’s imminent departure from life.

    Perhaps we Mormons are making it all up. If so, I echo the words C. S. Lewis put in the mouth of Puddleglum, in the fictional world of Narnia where Aslan the Lion was a fictional representation of a Christ figure:

    “Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all of those things—trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones… We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow.”

  16. We must be as little children in some ways but we must not be treated like children. The transparency the Church is now demonstrating toward such issues as the seer stone and polygamy are examples of being treated like adults.

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