Emotional Abuse vs. Christian Love

At times we here at Millennial Star compose posts or publish guest posts that provoke firestorms of controversy.

The most exceptional post of this sort was published during the attempt by some to coerce the Church to ordain women. I think the title was “OW: Thanks for Nothing!” For myself, I was disappointed to learn that the author was using a pseudonym, unwilling to put their own name to the biting commentary they asked us to publish.

Others are willing to put their name to biting commentary. If you don’t know which posts might fit into that category, I’m not going to bother pointing them out. The commentary tends to devolve to “How could you be so wrong!?!” versus “I/He/She was obviously right!!!”

Social media and the internet provide us an unprecedented opportunity to advocate for our particular worldview. As we become enveloped in our micro-universe, we can lose track of the fact that reasonable people might disagree with us. As we drift further and further into our isolation from respectful dialogue, we begin to denigrate those who are so ignorant and hurtful as to not think like we do.

There is no ideology whose adherents are immune from falling into this sort of bubble universe.

It is easy for the conservative Christian to presume that all advocacy for LGBTQIA individuals is hateful and destructive.

Similarly, it is easy for the non-heteronormal aka non-cis-gender individual to presume that all conservative religionists are similarly hateful and destructive.

Whatever our point of reference, it can become tempting to do whatever it might take to strip individuals of their hateful and destructive behaviors or thoughts. And this is the point when we start “lovingly” doing hateful and destructive things to the persons we claim are so hateful and destructive.

This is emotional abuse. And it can be accomplished by all walks of people. Continue reading

Guest post: A Bishop’s interview that hurts the children

This is a guest post by Michael Davidson

[We are in the hallway of a chapel, just outside of the bishop’s office. The bishop approaches with his keys in his hand to open the door, but is stopped by Bro. and Sis. Jones before entering.]

Bro Jones: Bishop! So glad we found you. Can we have a quick word with you?

Bishop: Sure, I have a couple of minutes before my next appointment, come right in.

[All three enter the bishop’s office and take their seats.]

Sis. Jones: Bishop, you know that we love and appreciate everything you do for the members of the ward, and in particular, our youth.

Bishop: Thank you for saying so, Sis. Jones.

Bro. Jones: Absolutely, but we are concerned about a couple of things.

Bishop: Oh, what’s that?

Bro. Jones: Well, we are a bit uneasy about certain Church policies regarding interviews with our kids. This is what we want to talk to you about.

Bishop: [with a look of concern] What seems to be the problem?

Sis. Jones: With all due respect, we don’t believe that you have the proper training or experience to discuss matters of “worthiness” [Sis Jones does air quotes] with our children, and we wanted to talk to you about that as Robert, Jr. is turning 12 this week.

Bro. Jones: As a result, we just wanted to tell you that we will not be allowing you, or anyone else in the ward or the stake, to meet with Robert one on one. If you have to meet with him, one of us has to be present and we will not tolerate you asking any inappropriate questions related to his “worthiness.” [Bro Jones does air quotes.]

Bishop: As you say, Robert Jr. is turning 12 and I was planning on visiting with him about being ordained a deacon this afternoon, as well as to get a recommend to go to the temple. You would be welcome to attend if Robert Jr. wishes to have you here.
Continue reading

Church doubles down on opposition to medical marijuana initiative in Utah

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made its position very clear on the medical marijuana initiative in Utah on the November ballot: it is opposed.

The Church says, however, that it favors using marijuana for certain medicinal purposes under controlled circumstances.

According to this story:

“The church does not object to the medicinal use of marijuana, if doctor-prescribed, in dosage form from a licensed pharmacy,” said Elder Jack N. Gerard, a General Authority Seventy with the church.

But Elder Gerard said the church is “deeply concerned” that the initiative does not contain “proper controls” on marijuana use, and also has worries about other states having “experienced serious consequences to the health and safety of” their residents due to marijuana laws that are too permissive.

Elder Gerard also urged Utahns to vote no on the initiative.

“We call on lawmakers, patients and community leaders to come together to find an appropriate solution to benefit all Utahns,” he said.

The Utah Medical Association, as well as Drug Safe Utah — a political issues committee formed to directly oppose the initiative — were also on hand to announce the new coalition and criticize the ballot measure as a bad solution for Utahns.

Both groups have previously slammed the initiative as a loosely regulated policy measure making recreational use possible.

“The marijuana initiative appearing as Proposition 2 on the ballot this November does not strike the appropriate balance in ensuring safe and reasonable access for patients while also protecting youth and preventing other societal harms,” Utah Medical Association CEO Michelle McOmber said in a statement on behalf of the coalition.

You can read more about Proposition 2 in Utah here.

Most polls show widespread support for Proposition 2, and political analysts believe it will pass despite opposition from the Church and most prominent Utah politicians.

Christians formerly known as Mormons

President Nelson thrilled many of us with the sweeping changes announced last April.

In that vein, President Nelson has announced that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will move away from the term “Mormon” and “LDS” to describe the Church and adherents of the Church. Apparently this shift was announced to leadership a few weeks ago, and the full import of the shift will be announced in months to come. I expect we will hear more in October conference.

It will be interesting to see where this goes in coming months. Given that people are lazy, I doubt that our new manner of referring to ourselves will be long. Perhaps it will be as simple as referring to ourselves as Christians. In which case, we would come to see ourselves as engaged in Christian ministry.

In the past the Church has attempted to move away from the moniker “Mormon.” There are a couple of factors that suggest this attempt may be more successful:

  1. This is a change that is coming from the prophet directly, couched as revelation.
  2. This change is occurring in the midst of other significant terminology changes.

An amusing fall-out, mentioned by someone tongue-in-cheek, is that this makes all former Mormons now “ex-Mormons.” The line that has previously excluded the disaffected has now been drawn around the entire population of those who ever considered themselves Mormon.