Part I. Stirring Up the Saints
Jacob Z. Hess
Note: At a time when many are turning to their faith for consolation that brighter days are ahead, others unable to do so. This two-part essay series (see Part II here) examines one force I believe has had a corrosive impact on many people’s faith – and yet, has received only sporadic scrutiny. By considering more forthrightly both the history and nature of this force in some depth, I hope people can find ways to extricate themselves from its influence.
If Latter-day Saints were confused to see students protesting at BYU earlier this year, they should be.
After all, these were active members of the Church of Jesus Christ protesting. How does a committed Latter-day Saint arrive at a place of being willing to shout loud demands in Provo or in front of the Church office building?
If you were following the story, you likely heard one answer from the 8 or 9 articles about the rallies in the Salt Lake Tribune (if you missed their live stream of the protests).
Here’s another answer.
Two kinds of listening. When I started writing about the possibility of a more productive conversation between religious conservatives and the gay community several years ago, I was intrigued to discover a Latter-day Saint-specific Facebook community called “Mormons Building Bridges” that seemed to have similar hopes. “Wonderful,” I thought – “a group in my own faith community working to build bridges on this hardest of disagreements … these are definitely my people!”
So, you can imagine my surprise at the tepid response in the MBB community to a series of essays exploring ways to deepen understanding across these disagreements – met largely with a mixture of annoyance, indifference and sometimes outright contempt.
By comparison, when someone posted something that began, “You’ll never believe what my Bishop just told me…” or “This guy said the stupidest thing in Sunday School today…” the outpouring was overwhelming – with pages upon pages of indignation and eager elaboration.Continue reading